Monday, July 18, 2011

A Book Review

Once a month, our community group leader (small group leader) coordinates a book review. I was happy to present a few books this past Saturday which helped me throughout my illness. These books really helped keep my mind in check. I thought I'd share the handout with you, since I shared it with the ladies in our community group. When your mind fails you, fill it up with encouragement.

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Book to Review:
Psalms
A Path Through Suffering Elliot
Beside Still Waters Spurgeon
Battling Unbelief Piper

I am so grateful to share with you today. I went through many phases and emotions, and carried a much lighter burden than one would expect from first glance of my circumstances. God has met me at every turn in my relationship with Him. God has met us in our marriage at every turn. God will meet you at every turn in every time, precisely where you are.

Psalms
Reasons & Practice
• I ran to Psalms every morning.
• David and I have a lot in common. I thought things like, “God, there’s this and this and this, and I know you are sovereign and put me together before there was time. Thank you.”
• Reassured me that the Lord knew my body better than anyone
• Turned my despair to praise
• Turned my anxiety to faith
• Drew me into the Word

A Path Through Suffering
Reasons & Practice
• Elisabeth is an excellent example of one who has suffered and throughout this book gives clear pictures of coloring our world with God’s grace.
• I love the imagery at the beginning of every chapter, putting our circumstances into a visual picture of plants, trees, and flowers growing.
• She draws you towards the Lord’s truths.
Excerpts
Chapter 6
How hopeless the naked wood of a fruit tree would look to us in February if we had never seen the marvel of springtime!

Sometimes the state of our souls seems as hopeless as the state of the trees in wintertime. Nothing can possibly be happening, God has forgotten us, the idea of springtime is preposterous.
The naked wood, bare and brittle and dry, s as much a pat of the tree’s life as the sap’s rising in spring. The Lord is still in charge, still moving in mysterious ways even when He gives the enemy or our souls permission to trouble us . . .

Chapter 4
It is when the death of winter has done its work that the sun can draw out in each plant its own individuality, and make its existence full and fragrant. Spiritual growth means something more than the sweeping away of the old leaves of sin – it means the life of the Lord Jesus developed in us.

In God’s management of the affairs of men suffering is never senseless. We can find plenty of good sense in the metaphor of pruning found in the Gospel of John.

Beside Still Waters (Spurgeon)
Reasons & Practice
• I stood on this book in thought. I read one page a day and pondered throughout each day and sometimes kept the same one for multiple days.
• Brought to waiting rooms, any idle time, I fed my mind with the truths in this book. It lived in my purse.
Excerpt
Some of you are perplexed with a multitude of anxieties about your life. You do not know what to do. One plan was suggested, and for a time it seemed the best action. But now you have doubts. You are bewildered and you cannot see Providence’s clue. You are lost in a maze. Indeed, at this moment, you are depressed.
You have tried various ways and methods to escape your present difficulty. But you have been disappointed and are distracted. Your thoughts have no order; they drag you in opposite directions The currents meet and twist as if you were in a whirlpool.
My perplexed friend, remember the children of Israel at the Red Sea. The sea was before them, rocks were on either side, and the cruel Egyptians roared in the rear. Imitate Israel’s actions. “Do not be afraid. stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for your today” (Ex 14:13). You reply, “I cannot be quiet. I am agitated, perturbed, perplexed, tossed, and distracted. What shall I do?”
“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul” (Ps. 94:19). Turn your eyes to the deep things of God. Cease from an anxious consideration of seen things, which are temporary, and gaze by faith on things that are eternal.
Remember, your way is ordered by a higher power than your will and choice. The eternal God has fixed your every step. All things are fixed by the Father’s hand. He who loved us from before the foundations of the world has immutably determined every step of our pilgrimage.
It is a blessed thing, after you have been muddling and meddling with your anxieties, to throw your burdens on the Lord and leave them there.
• -Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters, pg. 95