Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

Jesus_Calling

One Sentence Synopsis

A heretical daily devotional from a false prophetess who mixes her mystical ideas with random bits of the Bible and wants you to believe they both come from the mouth of Jesus.

Rating:

0 out of 5

Recommendation:

Burn your copies unless you are using them as reference material to warn others.

Summary

Sarah Young is best known as the author of the Jesus Calling franchise that includes books, devotional Bibles, children’s devotionals, and journals. She is also the author of several other books including Dear Jesus: Seeking His Light in Your Life and Jesus Lives. Young has a degree in philosophy from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in counseling and biblical studies from Covenant Theological Seminary and a degree in counseling from Georgia State University (Young, Introduction, loc. 628-650).

As the following will clearly demonstrate, Sarah Young is a false prophet who blasphemes against God by falsely attributing words to Him that He has not spoken. Young needs to publicly repent of these false prophetic messages. This is a serious offense against God as evidenced by the Old Testament command that anyone who shared a false word from God was to be put to death:

But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die (NASB, Deuteronomy 18:20).

Young also demonstrates an inability to properly interpret Scripture and strong influences from mysticism, New Age spirituality, and Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Christians should avoid Young’s writings and warn others to reject her messages as being non-Biblical.

Overview of Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence is the foundational work in the large and growing Jesus Calling set of works. First published in 2004, Jesus Calling remains incredibly popular nearly 8 years later. Reviewers on Amazon’s web site almost universally praise the book, and the vast majority of reviewers give it a rank of 5 out of 5 stars. Jesus Calling is arranged as a set of 365 daily devotions designed for reading over the course of a calendar year. Each daily devotion begins with a section that Sarah Young claims is a message that she has received directly from God:

I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying (Young, Introduction, loc. 675).

While these supposed revelations were directed to her, Young has recorded them as if they are coming from Jesus and are directed to you, the reader:

I have written them from Jesus’ point of view; i.e., the first person singular (I, Me, Mine) always refers to Christ. “You” refers to you, the reader, so the perspective is that of Jesus speaking to you (Young, Introduction, loc. 704).

Portions of these new revelations will often include verses or verse fragments taken from various English translations of the Bible:

As I listened to God, Bible verses or fragments of verses often came to mind. I have interwoven these into my messages. Words from the Scriptures (some paraphrased, some quoted) are indicated in italics (Young, Introduction, loc. 707).

Also, following each new revelation from God, Young includes a few verses from assorted English translations of the Bible (King James, New King James, and Amplifed are all used). Here is an example of a typical day’s devotional from Jesus Calling, not including the Bible verses:

Bring me your mind for rest and renewal. Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts. As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me. This awareness is vital to your spiritual well-being; it is your lifeline, spiritually speaking. There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My Presence. This dimension transcends the others, giving you glimpses of heaven while you still reside on earth. This was part of My original design for mankind. Adam and Eve used to walk with Me in the garden, before their expulsion from Eden. I want you to walk with Me in the garden of your heart, where I have taken up permanent residence (Young, May 24, loc. 2837).

Sarah Young’s Spiritual Background and Influences

In the introduction, Young describes her educational and spiritual background as well as how she came to begin receiving messages directly from God.

I first experienced the Presence of God in a setting of exquisite beauty. I was living and studying at a Christian community in a tiny Alpine village in France. This was a branch of L’Abri, an international ministry that began in Switzerland through Francis and Edith Schaeffer’s work (Young, Introduction, loc. 618).

“Experiencing the Presence of God” is the foundation of Young’s interaction with God. Her focus is clearly on having personal experiences with God rather than understanding Him through His revealed word, the Bible. She weirdly always capitalizes “Presence” and other characteristics of God such as Light, Love, Love-Light, Peace, Glory, and Nature. This dangerously pushes the focus away from knowing God himself and His sure and trustworthy Word to merely experiencing some of His attributes. Further, the attributes that Young emphasizes are always feel-good attributes like love and light, but never justice, wrath, or even holiness. But, even here I need to correct myself, because these are reportedly not Young’s words, but Christ’s words and not Young’s emphasis, but Christ’s emphasis.

The Jesus revealed in Jesus Calling is significantly different than the Jesus revealed in the Bible–not only in His nature, but also in His words. Even Young’s description of her conversion does not match the Biblical teaching:

Suddenly I felt as if a warm mist enveloped me. I became aware of a lovely Presence, and my involuntary response was to whisper, “Sweet Jesus.” This utterance was totally uncharacteristic of me, and I was shocked to hear myself speaking so tenderly to Jesus. As I pondered this brief communication, I realized it was the response of a converted heart; at that moment I knew I belonged to Him. This was far more than the intellectual answers for which I’d been searching. This was a relationship with the Creator of the universe (Young, Introduction, loc. 634).

Young describes her “converted heart” and “relationship with the Creator”, but there is no description of her recognition of her own sin, her need for a Savior, repentance, being born-again, or Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross to satisfy the wrath of God. Other than using the name of Jesus, there is nothing recognizable as being part of the historical, Biblical Christian faith. Young gives other reasons to question her understanding of Christianity in the following statements:

I was grieving the loss of a serious dating relationship and wondering whether being a Christian made much difference in the quality of my life (Young, Introduction, loc. 639).

During the next sixteen years I lived what many people might consider an exemplary Christian life … Not once during those sixteen years did I vividly experience the Presence of Jesus (Young, Introduction, loc. 640-653).

Becoming a Christian is not about improving the quality of your life or vividly experiencing the presence of Jesus. The Bible does not teach that the quality of our lives will be improved. The Bible also does not teach that Christians will vividly experience the presence of Jesus as described by Young. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Rather than improving our lives, many New Testament passages warn of the trials and sufferings that believers may experience on account of our faith (1 Peter 4:12, Acts 14:22, Philippians 1:29, 2 Timothy 3:12, and 1 John 3:13).

Young describes being deeply influenced by several literary works including Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall, The Secret of the Abiding Presence by Andrew Murray, and God Calling, a devotional book written by two anonymous “listeners” (Young, Introduction, loc. 643-678).

I was drawn to Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall. That night as I read the book, I no longer felt alone. I knelt beside the bed in that sterile room and felt an overwhelming Presence of peace and love come over me. I knew Jesus was with me and that He sympathized with my heartache. This was unquestionably the same “Sweet Jesus” I had met in the Alps (Young, Introduction, loc. 643).

In the summer of 1990 I began a new quest. It started with delving into a devotional book, The Secret of the Abiding Presence by Andrew Murray. The theme of this book is that God’s Presence is meant to be Christians’ continual experience. Murray emphasizes the importance of spending time alone with God in quiet, uninterrupted communion (Young, Introduction, loc. 655).

Young admits in those passages above that she is looking for new experiences with God. Her search did not begin with the Bible to understand God and how He chooses to reveal himself to His people. Not surprisingly, Young looked to books from authors with mystic leanings that supported her desire for experience. Encouraged by others who had experienced this presence (or something similar), Young continued on her quest to have this experience regularly:

I began seeking God’s Presence in earnest. My days started alone with God, equipped with Bible, devotional book, prayer journal, pen, and coffee. As I waited in His Presence, God began to reveal Himself to me (Young, Introduction, loc. 660).

Notice in this passage how “God’s presence” is uniquely distinct from “God.” She was “seeking God’s presence” by starting her days “alone with God.” If she was already with God, why would she need to seek His presence? There is nothing in the Bible that teaches that we should seek the presence of God in this manner described by Young.

One morning as I prayed, I visualized God protecting each of us. I pictured first our daughter, then our son, and then [husband] Steve encircled by God’s protective Presence, which looked like golden light. When I prayed for myself, I was suddenly enveloped in brilliant light and profound peace. I lost all sense of time as I experienced God’s Presence in this powerful way. I had not sought the experience, but I received it gratefully and was strengthened by it (Young, Introduction, loc. 669).

How does Young know that this brilliant light was from God? Notice how she first visualized what she expected this presence to look like and then it appeared. The Bible warns that “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (NASB, 2 Corinthians 11:14).

The Genesis of Jesus Calling

Young continued in her desire to have fresh, personal, and continual experience of this presence of God. Also, her reading migrated to authors with even stronger mystical teachings:

[In 1992], I began reading God Calling, a devotional book written by two anonymous “listeners.” These women practiced waiting quietly in God’s Presence, pencils and paper in hand, recording the messages they received from Him. The messages are written in first person, with “I” designating God (Young, Introduction, loc. 678).

The Bible does not tell us to follow these practices to receive special revelation from God. The Bible does not even give examples where people followed this type of process to receive new revelation from God.

This little paperback [God Calling] became a treasure to me. It dovetailed remarkably well with my longing to live in Jesus’ Presence (Young, Introduction, loc. 681).

Young had her own longings and then found authors that satisfied them. She shows little or no evidence of studying Scripture to satisfy those longings or even to determine if her longings were consistent with Scripture. Her seemingly insatiable desire for more experiences and personal non-Biblical revelation continued:

The following year, I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God (Young, Introduction, loc. 682).

I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day. I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message. It was short, biblical, and appropriate. It addressed topics that were current in my life: trust, fear, and closeness to God. I responded by writing in my prayer journal (Young, Introduction, loc. 684).

Young desired more from God than the Bible provided her. She demonstrates her belief that the Bible is insufficient to tell her how to trust God, how to deal with her fears, and how to be close to God. Yet, the Bible says it is sufficient:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (NASB, 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Further, Young claimed that these messages from God were “biblical” (Young, Introduction, loc. 684). However, even Satan uses words that sound biblical; for example, in Matthew 4:6 during his temptations of Jesus. For Young, these new revelations came to surpass the importance of spending time in God’s word:

This new way of communicating with God became the high point of my day (Young, Introduction, loc. 680).

Young claims that her writings were not inspired as the Bible:

I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but they were helping me grow closer to God. (Young, Introduction, loc. 689).

However, a true word from God is a true word from God. If these messages are God’s words, then they are true, authoritative, and binding on believers because God himself is true, authoritative and His word is always binding on believers. The Biblical idea of the inspiration of Scripture means to be God-breathed (theopneustos in the Greek). What would it mean for something to be less inspired or less God-breathed? It is either God’s word or it is not.

A life-changing verse has been “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Alternate readings for “Be still” are “Relax,” “Let go,” and “Cease striving” (NASB). This is an enticing invitation from God to lay down our cares and seek His Presence. I believe that God yearns for these quiet moments with us even more than we do. I also believe that He still speaks to those who listen to Him (John 10:27), and I continually depend on the Holy Spirit’s help in this (Young, Introduction, loc. 697).

That verse may have been life changing to her, but it does not teach what Young has read into the text. Like countless mystics, Young repeats the common abuse of Psalm 46:10 to justify her desire to hear new revelation from God through some type of special, quiet mediation. However, Psalm 46:10 does not teach this. When properly taken in the full context of Psalm 46, verse 10 is teaching us that we can stop worrying about the troubles around us. We can “be still”, “relax” and “cease striving” because the LORD (Yahweh) “is with us” and He “is our refuge and our strength.” Here is a fuller context of Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride … The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Come, behold the works of the LORD, who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold (NASB, Psalm 46:1-3, 6-11).

Young also repeats the standard mystic abuse of John 10:27. Young writes “He still speaks to those who listen to Him (John 10:27)” as if this verse teaches that we will hear new revelation from God (Young, Introduction, loc. 697). However, we can review the verse in its context and see that Young has again missed the clear teaching of Scripture:

The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand (NASB, John 10:24-28).

In this John 10 passage, the Jews literally heard the words of Jesus because He was physically with them and speaking to them. When Jesus says in verse 27, “My sheep hear My voice,” He is stating that His followers believe His words. He is contrasting his followers that believe with these Jews who “do not believe because you are not of My sheep.” There is absolutely nothing in these verses to imply that Jesus speaks new revelation to us in our heart in our quiet moments with Him.

This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the messages I have received (Young, Introduction, loc. 701).

Thus, Young’s book Jesus Calling was born out of her desire to share these supposed messages from God.

As I listened to God, Bible verses or fragments of verses often came to mind. I have interwoven these into my messages. Words from the Scriptures (some paraphrased, some quoted) are indicated in italics (Young, Introduction, loc. 707).

Young’s mixing of new revelation with Bible passages and Bible paraphrases just adds to the confusion as to what is the inspired word of God and what is (in her mind) less-inspired words from God.

Sarah Young’s Non-Biblical False Teachings

If Young is truly receiving messages from God, we will expect them to be not only consistent with the Bible, but also self-consistent. Since God is perfect, His revelation will be without error and without logical inconsistency. However, Young’s messages contain logical contradictions. For example, note the contradictions in the following 3 quotes from Jesus Calling:

I did not design the human mind to figure out the future. That is beyond your capability (Young, September 17, loc. 4626).

Among all My creatures, only humans can anticipate future events. This ability is a blessing, but it becomes a curse whenever it is misused (Young, September 22, loc. 4701).

If you must consider upcoming events, follow these rules… (Young, October 17, loc. 5121).

These are contradictory statements that taken together are effectively meaningless. She writes that humans cannot figure out the future, but we can anticipate the future. And, if we need to figure out the future (which we cannot), we must follow some rules. These contradictory, confusing messages are not from God.

Young’s supposed revelations from God also directly contradict Scripture:

Most of mankind’s misery stems from feeling unloved (Young, August 1, loc. 3854).

This is contrary to the Biblical teaching that mankind’s misery comes from our sin and the resulting curse placed upon both mankind and all creation. After Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, God said,

Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you will eat bread till you return to the ground (NASB, Genesis 3:17-19).

In this next passage from Jesus Calling, Young adds new commandments that are not recorded in Scripture.

Trust Me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them … When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help. This is a subtle sin—so common that it usually slips by unnoticed (Young, October 10, loc. 5008).

This is a false teaching that is also not from God. Young is calling something a sin that is not a sin. It is not a sin to imagine yourself in the future and rehearsing what you will do or say. For example, it is not a sin for a pastor to practice his sermons before a Sunday worship service. It is not a sin for a person to rehearse their answers to questions before a job interview. It is not a sin for a student or business professional to rehearse a speech they will be giving in the future.

The following example combines more false teaching with a poor allegory:

Instead of trying to comprehend My Incarnation intellectually, learn from the example of the wise men. They followed the leading of a spectacular star, then fell down in humble worship when they found Me … Look for a star of guidance in your own life, and be willing to follow wherever I lead (Young, December 22, loc. 6209-6212).

First, the Bible never teaches that the wise men did not try to intellectually comprehend Jesus’ incarnation. Young creates a false dichotomy where intellectual understanding and worship are placed in conflict with each other. Without intellectual comprehension, our worship is of nebulous, fuzzy, misunderstood vague concepts. Additionally, Young then turns the real, historical star that the wise men followed into an unclear allegory. What is a star of guidance in our life? Should we be looking for a star in the heavens like the wise men and begin a physical journey to find where it leads? These are not the words of God.

In the next passage from Jesus Calling, Young reports getting a word from God that is actually just a rather poor commentary she has taken from the Amplified Bible (and somewhat out of context as well). First, here is Young’s supposed word from God and the verse she quotes from the Amplified Bible:

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses … Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Hebrews 11 : 1 (AMP) (Young, December 11, loc. 6033-6041).

Now, here is the text of Hebrews 11:1 from the New American Standard Bible:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (NASB, Hebrews 11:1).

Hebrews 11:1 does not teach that our conviction comes from outside all of our senses (as suggested by the Amplifed Bible commentary). Rather, Hebrews 11:1 and its context are teaching of having faith to endure until we receive those things God has promised (Hebrews 10:36), but we have not yet seen. Hebrews 11:1 cannot mean that faith is separate from our senses, because it would then contradict other clear Biblical teachings that our faith comes from hearing the good news:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (NASB, Romans 10:17).

The following three quotes from Young are idolatrous as she suggests that humanity is nearly divine, that heaven is in our heart, and that mankind has a power that is God’s alone:

I made you in My image, precariously close to deity (Young, April 21, loc. 2394).

You are simply responding to the tugs of divinity within you. I made you in My image, and I hid heaven in your heart (Young, July 20, loc. 3670).

I am working on your behalf. Bring Me all your concerns, including your dreams. Talk with Me about everything, letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans. Spend time allowing My Light to infuse your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality. This is a very practical way of collaborating with Me. I, the Creator of the universe, have deigned to co-create with you (Young, December 11, loc. 6028).

The Bible does not teach that we are either close to deity, co-creators with God, or have heaven in our heart. Infusing our dreams with life and transforming them into reality are also not Biblical concepts.

Stop judging and evaluating your self, for this is not your role (Young, February 28, loc. 1593).

If we don’t evaluate ourselves and rightly judge our sin by God’s holy standards, why would we repent or our sin? Young’s writing is contrary to Paul’s writings in Romans regarding his self judgment:

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me (NASB, Romans 7:18-20).

Young’s writings contradict the clear words of Paul who was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The messages she is receiving are not inspired and are not even from God.

My Name, properly used, has unlimited Power to bless and protect (Young, December 3, loc. 5900).

The name of Jesus does not have any special power even if we use it “properly.” Young is turning the name of Jesus into some type of magic incantation that we use to give us blessing and protection.

Every time you affirm your trust in me, you put a coin into My treasury. Thus you build up equity in preparation for days of trouble. I keep safely in My heart all trust invested in Me, with interest compounded continuously. The more you trust Me, the more I empower you to do so. Practice trusting Me during quiet days, when nothing much seems to be happening. Then when storms come, your trust balance will be sufficient to see you through (Young, January 10, loc. 867).

That may sound religious, but it is not Biblical. It is false teaching from Young. The Bible does not teach that Jesus stores our trust in His heart where it builds equity through compounded interest.

When I give you no special guidance, stay where you are (Young, April 13, loc. 2254).

Remember that, according to Young, this is a command from Jesus. Imagine trying to live your life by the idea that if you receive no special guidance directly from Jesus, you are to stay where you are. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to do nothing without special revelation and guidance from Jesus.

If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one—as well as yourself. Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac. I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father’s undisciplined emotions. I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love (Young, August 23, loc. 4195).

The Bible does not state or even imply that Abraham had begun to worship his son, Isaac.

In the final example of Young’s mishandling of Scripture, she begins this particular day’s devotion by stating:

My peace is the treasure of treasures: the pearl of great price (Young, January 24, loc. 1082),

and then supposedly supports this new revelation from Jesus by quoting from a portion of Matthew 13:46 from the New King James Version of the Bible:

… who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it (Young, January 24, loc. 1087).

Young only quotes a portion of the verse to allow it to fit her ideas. The clear context of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 13:46 is given in the preceding verse. The pearl of great price is representative of the kindgom of God, not Jesus’ peace:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it (NKJV, Matthew 13:45-46).

More examples could be given of Young’s abuse of Scripture and clear false teachings. These are more than sufficient to demonstrate that the messages Young receives are not from God and that she is a false prophet.

Sarah Young’s Mystic, New Age, and Eastern Religion Teachings

In addition to contradicting Scripture, Young’s writings demonstrate a heavy influence (either directly or indirectly) from mysticism, New Age spirituality, and Eastern religions. The next set of passages demonstrate her mystical and New Age teachings. While they may sound spiritual, they are definitely not Biblical descriptions of Jesus or His characteristics:

Softly I announce my presence. Shimmering hues of radiance tap gently at your consciousness, seeking entrance (Young, January 8, loc. 835).

My face is shining upon you, beaming out Peace that transcends understanding (Young, January 15, loc. 941).

I am like a supersaturated cloud, showering Peace into the pool of your mind. (Young, January 19, loc. 1000).

All the while, My Peace hovers over you, searching for a place to land. (Young, May 31, loc. 2944).

I am all around you, like a cocoon of Light (Young, June 7, loc. 3034).

Like a luminous veil of Light, I hover over you and everything around you (Young, December 5, loc. 5935).

One specific subset of this mystic spirituality that gets repeated often in Jesus Calling is the idea of “soaking.” Soaking and soaking prayer have become popular within mystic and contemplative prayer groups.

Let the Light of My Presence soak into you, as you focus your thoughts on Me (Young, January 2, loc. 735).

As you spend time “soaking” in My Presence, you are energized and lightened (Young, July 1, loc. 3394).

Emotional and physical healing are enhanced by your soaking in the Light of My Presence (Young, December 13, loc. 6069).

These are more false teachings. The Bible does not teach anything about soaking in Jesus’ presence. It also does not teach that physical healing is enhanced by this soaking.

In Jesus Calling, Young’s writing often bears striking similarities to the teachings of Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Listen to her writings about our energy, about being channels of divinity, and turning inward to look inside ourselves for the divine:

Your energy is drained away from other matters through this negative focus. Worst of all, you lose sight of Me. A renewed mind is Presence-focused (Young, February 2, loc. 1229).

At other times, you must draw inward to find Me. I am always present in your spirit (Young, February 2, loc. 1231).

Yet there is a cushion of calm at the center of your life, where you live in union with Me. Return to this soothing Center as often as you can, for this is where you are energized: filled with My Love, Joy, and Peace (Young, March 9, loc. 1731).

I am training you to find Me in each moment and to be a channel of My loving Presence (Young, March 31, loc. 2049).

I enable you not only to feel comforted but also to be a channel through whom I comfort others. Thus you are doubly blessed, because a living channel absorbs some of whatever flows through (Young, October 16, loc. 5103).

Be a channel of My Love, Joy, and Peace by listening to Me as you listen to others (Young, October 31, loc. 5336).

In addition, Young incorporates many of the meditation ideas employed by the Eastern religions, New Age spiritualists, and even those involved in the occult:

Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it (Young, August 5, loc. 3911).

As you sit quietly in my presence, let Me fill your heart and mind with thankfulness. This is the most direct way to achieve a thankful stance. If your mind needs a focal point, gaze at My Love poured out for you on the cross (Young, November 23, loc. 5725).

The Bible does not teach us to empty our minds or use focal points during meditation. Young also regularly repeats the non-Biblical idea of practicing the presence of Christ:

Each moment you can choose to practice My Presence or to practice the presence of problems (Young, April 9, loc. 2196).

Practice My Presence by practicing the discipline of thankfulness. (Young, July 24, loc. 3735).

The best antidote to this artificial atmosphere is practicing My Presence at church. (Young, October 19, loc. 5153).

In these three quotes, Young demonstrates that she has likely been influenced (either directly or indirectly) by the work of the 17th century Catholic monk and mystic, Brother Lawrence, whose writings are collected in the book The Practice of the Presence of God. This idea of practicing the presence of God has been recently popularized by the mystically-influenced spiritual formation movement led by the likes of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. While Young’s statements may sound spiritual, they are not based upon any Biblical text. Young is teaching a false Jesus and thereby leading people away from the only source of salvation.

References

Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling – Deluxe Edition: Enjoying Peace in His Presence [Kindle Edition]. Thomas Nelson. October 12, 2004. Print Length, 398 pages. ISBN: 1404187820. NOTE: Kindle locations are identified by both chapter title and “loc.” for location in place of the traditional p. for page numbers from a printed book.

New American Standard Bible, Lockman Foundation, 1995.

New King James Version, Thomas Nelson, 1982.

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7 responses to “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

  1. Brenda

    Thanks for (probably) forcing yourself to read through this (I think) blasphemous book, and for your excellent commentary on it. So, so much false teaching and deception in these Sarah Young books.

    Isn’t our daily devotional & quiet time better spent reading God’s Word in the Bible? Or reading the Red Letter Words of our LORD Jesus in the Bible?

    LORD God, please protect us and lead us into all Truth in the knowledge of Thine Precious Son, the Risen Jesus!, the Only Perfect Sacrifice for the sins of the world. God Bless, and thanks again for this great evaluation. ~Brenda

    • Doug

      Brenda, why red letter? That sounds to me that you see Jesus’ words as more inspired than the black letters? If so, let me point out that those words are what is quoted as being the very words of Jesus. However, these are the same authors who also wrote the black letters. All of the Bible was authored by God through human instruments. All of the Bible is equally inspired by God, both red and black letters (2 Peter 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:16). This means that every jot (smallest Hebrew letter) and tittle (very small part of a letter) are critically important (Matthew 5). No piece of Scripture is any more or less important than any other, it is all the WORD OF GOD, whether Jesus actually said it or not.

      One of my seminary professors (John C. Whitcomb) told us that he didn’t like the red letter editions for this very reason, that it seemed to place more importance on Jesus words than the rest of Scripture. However, I like the red letter edition, because if I am looking for a verse but don’t know where it is, if I know that it was Jesus actual teachings, it helps me find it easier. I pray that this is helpful to you. God bless you my sister!

  2. Hi Brenda. You are right absolutely right that there is a lot of false teaching and deception in Sarah Young’s books. And, yes, our reading should always begin with the Bible. But there are also a lot of great books that can help us understand and apply what we read in the Bible. My love and appreciation of God and the Bible have been greatly strengthened by reading great works of those saints who have gone before me and wrestled with the Bible themselves. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to separate the good books from the bad books.

    I would caution you against believing that the the red letter words of Jesus are any more important or authoritative than the rest of the Bible. As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 state, ALL Scripture is God-breathed. Every word of the Bible has been given to us by God. The words written down by Moses, David, Isaiah, Hosea, Matthew, Luke, Paul, Peter, James, John, and the others are just as much the words of God as those spoken by Jesus during his life. We can miss out on a lot of the richness of the Bible if we do not take the whole counsel of God provided equally on every page of Scripture.

    Thanks again for your encouraging comments.

    In Christ,

    Dale

  3. Dale, thank you for your courage in standing against this extremely popular book. As is typical of false teachings, some of it is consistent with the truth, but much of it is dangerously not.

    I spent several years compiling a devotional which is somewhat the antithesis to Jesus Calling, in that it is 100% direct quotes from scripture. Light for Each Day takes verses from all 66 books of the Bible and weaves them together into seamless daily readings on various themes. And each week there is a reading composed solely of direct quotes from Jesus and/or God, speaking on a particular topic.

    Like you, I am Reformed and cessationist, so I think you will find it consistent with your beliefs. I hope you will consider reviewing it someday. I can mail you a copy if you would like.

    It is in two volumes. Here is the link to Vol. 1 on Amazon:
    http://goo.gl/FrRGVU

    Thanks again for pointing people to the truth.
    Lynn Rutledge

  4. Thanks for putting this together Dale,

    I’m not a cessationist, but I do know that Sarah Young is listening to demons whisper nonsense to her. I wish people had more discernment. I know of many who love this “devotional” more than the words of the bible. It’s utter nonsense really.

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