Book Title: Refreshment for the Weary Soul: Divine Comfort and Counsel for God’s Servants in the Making.
Author: Udeme Anosike
Page Number: 198
Publishers: CrossBooks (A Division of LifeWay).
Copyright Date: 2012
Type of Book: Trade Paperback.
General Subject Matter: Victorious Christian Living
Book Format: Perfect Softcover
Chapter One – David: An Inspiring Example.
In this first chapter, the author focuses on David, chiefly on his agonising flight from a vengeful King Saul who was bent on killing him, until the time when David eventually ascended a divided and later united throne of Israel. Although Saul never stopped pursuing David in a bid to destroy him, David never raised a hand against his king and God’s anointed. The author’s emphasis in this chapter is that God permitted David to go through these circuitous trials as a refinement process of his character. The author stresses that it is needful for Christians to follow David’s example by waiting upon the Lord and His timing rather than attempting to resort to self-help in fulfilling God’s promises over their lives. Opportunism has no place in the God’s timetable.
Chapter Two – God is True, but His Ways are Hidden
The author commences this chapter with a recount of her personal moments of discouragement and hopelessness. She refers to the Children of Israel and their seemingly long trek towards the Promised Land. She maintains that it is very difficult (if not impossible) for the carnal mind to understand the ways and purposes of God. She asserts that trials and wilderness experiences are often God’s refining furnace or tool of character development. The author insists that although God may seem distant during our trials, yet He is always with His children during the wilderness experience to comfort, assure and direct them. The author lists three goals that God seeks to achieve in the life of believers with the painful wilderness experience. She also points to Isaiah 30: 15-23 as an excellent synopsis of the process by which God accomplishes the refinement of His children.
Chapter Three – The Source of Our Desires and Hope
This chapter prods the reader into a self-evaluation. The author states that Christians need to always reflect on the motives behind their desires. There is a requirement that children of God shun and avoid desires that emanate from the world because God will only bless His children when they are within the confines of His own purpose. The author acknowledges the allures of the world as a powerful weapon in the hands of Satan and how it was even used to tempt Christ. The author harps on the extensive struggle existing ceaselessly between the spirit and the flesh, even after our new birth. There is a divine demand for Christians to completely yield themselves to the Holy Spirit. The author emphasizes that gaining victory over the flesh and its desires is a progressive journey and that God deals with each of His children in a peculiar way.
Chapter Four – God: Our Closest Ally
This is an emotive chapter. It dwells on the love of God for His children and how God’s love is often doubted by the elect because of their fear that God is merciless towards sinners. The author uses a domestic analogy here to paint a picture of our relationship to God; that of a mother and her baby. She likens our sins to a baby’s faeces. Much as God hates sin (the way we feel repulsive towards pooh), He is willing to forgive, love and assist us in dealing with our weaknesses; the way a mother cleans up her baby after a bowel movement. The important thing is for a Christian never to justify his or her sins.
Chapter 5: A Call to Know God More Intimately
This chapter is a call to the elect to seek to know God intimately beyond His blessings. The author draws a distinction between the call to ministry and knowledge of God. She insists that although both are needful, the latter is most important because it will certainly lead to a transformation and refining process in our walk with God. She draws from the examples of Apostles Peter and Paul.
Chapter 6: After the Call
This chapter enumerates the benefits of a positive response to God’s call for an intimate knowledge and fellowship with Him. The author list six major promises that God has guaranteed His Church when they respond to his invitation of fellowship.
Chapter 7: God’s Awesome Grace
Again, the author delves into her personal experience in this chapter which is discourse premised on the grace of the God. The author attempts a practical explanation of the God’s grace which she links to God’s internal influence and working with His children, as opposed to the generally held notion of the grace of God being limited to external circumstances. The author states that the grace of God is that divine enablement that permeates and percolates a believer when he or she feels like they cannot cope again. She also draws attention to the role of the believer in rightly confessing the Word of God. The author outlines three principles that underlie the working of God’s grace in a believer’s daily life or ministry.
Chapter 8: When You Don’t Have the Answers.
This chapter is themed on the importance of hearing God’s voice in order to stay within His purpose for our lives. Yet again the author employs the analogy of a child who is learning to walk. Hearing and recognising God’s voice is a process that is perfected with time and obedience. The author encourages every believer to learn the skill of hearing God. The author warns that hearing God doesn’t imply an entitlement to every detail. She stresses that believers need to be patient in this regard and trust the Lord. The author lists two steps to help believers overcome the sin of impatience.
Chapter 9: Announcing a Day of Deliverance
This chapter focuses on divine deliverance. The author states that our souls need divine healing. She likens polluted souls to lungs that are afflicted with asthma. She points out that an asthmatic patient would respond to certain triggers in the environment which healthy people would ordinarily not react to. In the same way, a spiritually diseased soul reacts to certain “triggers” in the environment. She narrates the role of the Holy Spirit in the character transformation process and the need for believers to receive and cooperate with Him. There is the pressing need for believers to follow the footsteps of Christ and depend on God who is ever willing to deliver His own.
Chapter 10: The Lord, Our Good Shepherd
This chapter is basically an exposition of the popular Psalm 23 (The Shepherd’s Psalm). Verse after verse, the author explains and clarifies on the purport of this psalm. The author calls on every believer to entrust their lives to the good shepherd as He is faithful and would never abandon His sheep.
Chapter 11: Be Careful How You Hear
This chapter is focused on deep cognitive empathetic hearing of the Word of God as a catalyst for spiritual growth. The author harps on the importance of genuine receipt of the Word of God and refers to the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 to illustrate the point. In order to receive a full benefit of the Word, the author encourages believers to meditate on the Word, receive it, act on it and then wait for its fruit.
Chapter 12: Winning the Battle in the Mind
The mind is the believer’s battlefield. The impact of the mind on every person’s action is profound, and that is why the enemy of our soul (Satan), so desperately wants to access our minds and plant the wrong thoughts therein. The author states that we need the Holy Spirit to think godly thoughts. The author informs the reader that our thoughts originate from three sources; God, the devil or ourselves. She makes a vital point that thoughts that originate from God are of his Spirit; they are peaceful and gentle as opposed to unruly thoughts. She also provides other modes of discerning origins of thoughts. The author urges believers to fight the good fight of faith and she enumerates five ways of being victories in this fight to preserve our minds from the enemy. She also mentions the need for Christians to take on the whole armour of God and employ the weapon of praise.
Chapter 13: Nurturing Your Relationship with God
This chapter, like Chapter 5, encourages believers to place priority on developing their relationship with God. The author states that the flesh is the principal bulwark against our relationship with God. The author outlines three practical steps that will lead to subduing the flesh. The author avows that intimacy always produces fruitfulness in a believer’s life.
Chapter 14: Life in the Promised Land: A Preview
This chapter commences with the events that led to the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden and the redemptive works of Christ. The author delves into scripture to paint what God describes as abundant life.
Chapter 15: Forgive and Be Reconciled
The author insists that to live a victorious life in the Promised Land, the believer must learn to forgive offenders. She explains what godly forgiveness entails and why God has specifically instructed His children to forgive. This chapter also acknowledges the reality of the effects of emotional wounds but assures the reader of the healing power of God over every emotional wound.
Chapter 16: Love
This chapter emphasizes that love is another virtue that is a necessary for abundant living. The primary way to grow in Christ-like love is by relinquishing our limited human love and allowing God’s love to flow through us to others. This chapter also lists the attributes or characteristics of love.
Chapter 17: The Church: Active or Effective
The chapter reminds us of the mandate of the church to a perishing world. The author asserts that the church of the twenty-first century is a pale version of the early church which Christ planted after immediately after his ascension. The author attributes this loss of divine power to lack of total dependence and surrender by the church to God. The author states that the Lord’s call to the church today facets the individual and corporate. The chapter draws the attention of the reader to the need to serve like Christ; depending on the leading of God rather than a personal agenda. There is a need for the church to shun every form of self-glorification and return all the glory and honour to God.
Chapter 18: He Comes for a Church Without Wrinkles
This chapter is themed on the Second Coming of the bridegroom (Christ). The author reminds her readers of the type of bride that the bridegroom is coming back to receive, and the need for the church to be ready for His second coming.
Refreshment for the Weary Soul is nutshell guide on facing and defeating the challenges on the Christian’s journey to discipleship. The greatest challenge facing the church today (as it has always been from the day of Pentecost), is not just the need to evangelise, but the requirement of nurturing men and women into maturity in Christ.
This book written in lucid and unadorned language offers a helpful explanation of what true discipleship is while leaning heavily from scriptural references. We find the clarion call to return to God, hinged on our total dependence and obedience to Him. In this era of overwhelming materialism, compromised doctrines and reflexively dogmatic pontificating, this book is a worthwhile reminder of the cost, scope, and rewards of discipleship. The author’s writing is interfaced with honest pragmatism as she draws from her personal journey of discipleship to buttress her points.
On the whole Mrs. Anosike brings fresh insights to trite truths. Her ability to proffer practical nuggets, short tales within her dissertation and prayer guidelines will ensure that Refreshment for the Weary Soul will occupy the venerated bookshelf of Christian classics.
Part I – A Closer Walk with God
This first part contains six chapters. It is noteworthy that every chapter of this book has prayer points themed on the lapses or shortcomings that have been evaluated in the said chapter.
Part II – Agents of Transformation
There are seven chapters in this part.
Part III – Preparing for the Promised Land
This final part contains five chapters.
Notes – This is the bibliography of the book.
Reviewed by: Sasi Miet Jaja.