Finished this month:
On Asking God Why by Elisabeth Elliot
I love Elisabeth Elliot! We all ask God “why” at some point or another, we all have trials, suffering, loss, disappointments to walk through, and here Elisabeth shares some of hers. This was an encouraging book as we learn to trust God in the midst of life’s trials.
“My questions were not answered, but I wanted to ‘see’ God, to know Him. So I kept on reading the Book, kept trying to apply it to my life, kept bringing my own thinking and conduct under its authority, seeking God’s meaning in every event that touched me, including Jim’s death and other crises. As God had promised, His Word proved true. He instructed me. He kept me. He held me. He showed me all I needed to know for life and godliness, although He did not unfold all I wanted to know for understanding.” (p. 140-141, emphasis hers)
“Oh no, don’t speak of things being lost. Say rather that they are hidden – received and accepted and taken up into the secrets of the Divine mysteries, to be transformed and multiplied…” (p. 26)
Addictions – A Banquet in the Grave by Edward T. Welch
This is a crucial book for anyone seeking to know how to help others with addictions (even less “serious” ones). It was helpful to me as well as we all have addiction-tendencies in our human nature! Sin can be summed up in the word: idolatry and our desires can easily give way to loving things more than we should.
It is filled some great really practical teaching and it has questions at the end of each chapter for personal application and to help apply it in helping others. I would highly recommend this book, you will find it to refocus or sharpen your Christian life and equip you to help others who are struggling with specific addictions or any other sin.
“Any earthly desire that doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer is a lust that surpasses your desire for Jesus himself.” (p. 225)
“If the problem of addiction is false worship, the answer is knowing the Lord, the One who deserves our worship. This is true theology, the study of God Himself.” (p. 141)
Temptation by John Owen
This has got to be one of the greatest Puritan Classics! It’s one of those books you have to read pretty carefully and slowly… otherwise much of it goes over your head. I don’t think I read it slowly enough, so I’ll probably read it again. Excellent though – John Owen is very discerning and led by the Spirit in how he teaches about the nature and work of temptation in our lives and how we can avoid and resist it.
“He who seeks to get the victory over any sin must also consider his temptations to it, and strike at that root. Without deliverance from this, he will not be healed.” (p. 53)
“And how does Paul come to have such an estimation of the most desirable things in the world? It is because of the very high estimation he had of the excellency of Christ.” (p. 102)
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
A classic…. I confess I skipped over much of the historical chapters (it was a really long book!)
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
I started this, but then didn’t finish it… maybe at some point I will. Just a few comments… Please note that G.K. Chesterton was Roman Catholic so discernment is required while reading. It was rather interesting… very intellectual, although he claims to be more for mysticism (i.e. experience in his relationship with God) and more against intellectualism (for intellectualism’s sake).
In chapter 2 I found that he had a rather confused view of free will – thinking that it must be entire, and that we should not see so much “cause” in everything. However, he also says positively, “[The Mystic] has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them… Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also.” And: “The Christian permits free will to remain a sacred mystery.” I agree yes. But then, he repeatedly denounces the idea of “determinism” (known primarily today as Calvinism), calls it “alien logic” and compares it to madness. But wait… I agreed with the first… umm? (I think he’s a bit biased?)
He says in one place, “the madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.” At first I wasn’t sure about that, but as I thought about it, it’s quite brilliant. One who is mad can still be “reasonable” in many ways.
He also says, “Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason.” I see what he’s saying, but I would say that it’s when imagination becomes reason is when there’s insanity. We need reason, and we need mystery, but if one supersedes the other then we have confusion.
Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch (on my Kindle)
Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller
The End of the Spear by Steve Saint (seen the Movie, haven’t yet read the book)
Additional books I want to read this month:
For my CCEF class I will be reading Why Does It Have to Hurt? by Dan McCartney
The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges
Convergence by Sam Storms
I really want to finish all these this month because... well, you'll have to wait till next month to find out why! :-D