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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inspiring, and Reflective - Dug Down Deep

"What makes it difficult for us to see the truth about God, I think, isn't his overwhelming immensity but our overwhelming self-centeredness." 

The most common view of teenagers (and possibly most adults) today is a "Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism".  This means they think that if they are good, God will reward them.  They think that God's primary reason for existence is to make them happy.  And last but not least, they believe God is distant and uninvolved in our lives.  Kind of like we are in charge of where we're heading and God is along for the ride; like He has no influence or should have no say in what we do.

Joshua says J.I. Packer also goes on to point out that although God is personal, He's not finite like we are.  "Like us He's personal; but unlike us, He is great."  I think sometimes we lose fact of this.  While we can approach the Lord in prayer, I think we're often in a bad sense like a child.  For instance, my son sometimes think's God is a genie in a lamp there to grant his next wish.  We did not instill this in our son, yet it's there.  I think because he knows God can do anything, he can expect to be able to ask for anything.  For instance "Dear God, help me get a ds and have the best day, and help me to get ice cream.  Amen".  Do I love the sincerity of him realizing that God is all powerful?  Absolutely!  But my son is only a child and when He's older will someday realize more of the awe that comes with knowing the Lord.  He will know that God knows the desires of His heart but if he were to stand in the presence of the Almighty God, he would not be asking for ice cream and video games.  I think as adults we may sometimes or often have that same view.  God is a genie in a lamp to us.  And, when He doesn't answer us like we think He should, we get upset and angry with Him.  Let me reiterate what Joshua was saying...God is infinite, we are not. "...we are not the center of the universe, God is.  

"God is near, but we've made Him small - so small that we can carry Him around in our pocket like a good-luck charm."  The funny thing about this is that He's the one holding us.  He's the one who is up on high caring for us.  What an amazing God we serve.   

In chapter 4, Joshua talks about A. J. Jacobs, an agnostic man who thought he'd live out all the rules in the bible, including levitical laws for one year.  I will say there was a bit that made me chuckle because it just seemed silly.  But what had me thinking in awe was first of all, this man read the entire bible in 4 weeks.  I got me thinking about how as Christians, how much do we read God's word?  To many of us, reading the whole bible in a year even seems daunting.  Yet this man who didn't even care about God - didn't love God - read it in 4 weeks.  That's humbling.  He also took to following all the laws of the bible, yet how often to our tongues go unbridled, what about those little white lies?  Are we setting ourselves apart?  If someone met you on the street for the first time, would they have even the slightest clue that you just might be a Christian?  In this chapter he also talks about the question people often ask, "When I pray, does God hear me?"  When what we should really be asking ourselves are the following...

Am I hearing God through his word?
Am I listening to Him?
Am I trembling before his word?

How often do we figuratively burn God's word like Jehoiakim (Josiah's son) physically burned the prophecies brought to him?  Josh shows us this similarity in our lives every time we choose to go against God's word and what He has for our life.  It reminds me of another book called The Anatomy of Secret Sins. This book talks about how we sin in our lives and sometimes don't even realize it.  May we pray to God and ask Him to deliver us from our sins; those known to us and those that aren't.

Later on in the book, Josh talks about his father and the life he had before he surrendered his life to God.  After his father was saved, the first question he asked God was what should he do and he felt God saying "Go home."  I have experienced things that most people will never experience in their lifetime and I did so in just a couple years time.  I remember when I finally realized I needed the Lord as my savior.  I asked Him what I could do for Him and how I was to do it.  The crazy thing is that the first thing I did was go home.  I've always said that there was no reason for me to go back home to my parents many states away other than because of God.  What an amazing God we serve!

Joshua has a cartoon section in this book called Feeding the Flesh. It was phenomenal as a visual!  I pulled over my two older children and read through the cartoons with them.  I asked them what they were personally doing to feed their flesh and then asked them what they could do to starve it.  This was a great point in the book!  He goes on to say that sanctification is a work in progress.  John Piper mentioned though that if one is not careful, it can turn into a digression if a person is feeding and not starving their flesh.  Robert Murray McCHeyne's is quoted when he said "For every one look at your sins, take ten looks at Christ".  I think it can be easy at times to dwell on the bad we've done and not look more towards Christ. 

I could write more and quote more from his book but I won't for now.  I will end in saying Joshua Harris has done a great job laying an easy to understand foundation of biblical theology.  He also has the reader ask himself many questions that he otherwise may not have thought about.  This book is very thought provoking and inspiring.  I plan to make this a requirement of reading for my teen children as they get older. 

Recommended Books for Reading:
Gospel and Kingdom by Graeme Goldsworthy
God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts
Spurgeon V. Hyper-Calvinism
The Forgotten Spurgeon
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
Holiness by J.C. Ryles
The Cross of Christ by John Stott
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
God Has Spoken by J.I. Packer

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

1 comment:

CheshireLizzy said...

Robert Murry M'Cheyne is often quoted in our church. He was a phenomenal writer and very godly man.

I also love Joshua Harris.

Thanks for sharing.