I knew I was going to love Gloria Furman’s book, Alive in Him: How Being Embraced by the Love of Christ Changes Everything, when I read her words in the introduction, “Studying Ephesians…is not about making people aware of their blessings for the sake of self-esteem; it’s about the glory of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Thank you, Gloria! Seriously. We need more books by women that focus on God’s glory. The self-esteem ones are getting really old.
While preparing to teach through the book of Ephesians at a women’s retreat, a friend gave me an advanced copy of the book from Crossway. It’s coming out tomorrow and I am truly grateful for this companion to scripture. Gloria’s words were a perfect match for my retreat content, “It is in beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ that we are changed.”
Alive in Him is meant to be read alongside scripture. Gloria takes the reader section by section through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In eight chapters she draws us in to the main themes of the letter. Most impactful to me was seeing the over-arching structure of the letter: the first three chapters are a display of God’s character and the last three chapters are instructions to believers in how to live as a result of who God is.
Understanding Paul’s intention to maximize and glorify the Lord FIRST, and THEN to instruct the believers in how to walk is paramount in the book and paramount in life. I love that Gloria focuses on the goodness and glory of God—just as Paul does. She walks us through reminders of His love, mercy, power, and indwelling Spirit. And then, like Paul, she instructs us to walk in His ways—to reflect His character, according to His power in us. Because, as she said, “It’s in beholding the glory of God…that we are changed.”
The unifying message of Alive in Him stays true to the unifying message of Ephesians. This theme is a cool drink in the parched land of books that focus the reader’s eyes on herself, her own capabilities, her own visions. I’m so thirsty for more books like this that bring the attention of the reader to the glory of God.
I get asked often for book and bible study recommendations. Friends, get this one! I read through this book in one weekend and marked up the lines and margins on every single page. It’s that rich. Thank you, Gloria Furman, for pointing us to God’s glory.
Here are other great books by Gloria Furman. I have read and really appreciated Missional Motherhood. I have not gotten to the others yet, but hear that they are similar to Alive in Him, as they point the readers to Jesus.