Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reading List! (August 31, 2014)

I used to do this on the 1st of the month, but decided it makes more sense to do it the last day of the month. I got a good amount of reading done this month and am aiming to get a lot done in September as well – at least for the first 2-3 weeks before I start another online class.

Finished this month:

Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson
This was a really fascinating book! Eccl. 3:11 says that God has placed eternity in man’s heart, and Romans 1:21 says that “His invisible attributes are clearly seen… so that they are without excuse”. This book is full of stories of ancient to modern-day civilizations who have had the realization of a supreme creator God, some even have religious rituals similar to Jewish ones or beliefs that are so close to the Gospel it’s almost unbelievable! Why did a remote tribe resist the influences of Buddhism but then immediately embrace Christianity? What about another people group who believed in an “upside down tree” that is rooted in heaven and brings life to the earth? How is it that the Inca’s had some hymns strikingly similar to Christian ones? Did you know that the Chinese symbol for “flood” is 8 people in a boat? (Hint: see Genesis 7!) And how about the people in Burma who believed they lost “God’s book” and were waiting for a “white brother” to come and bring it back? If you are considering going into missions I’d say this is a must-read, but either way you’ll find it interesting and inspiring! There was also a really interesting chapter on false theories of religion and how they have affected others (like Hitler), and a chapter on the book of Acts and how the early Christians struggled with the “all nations” imperative. The only thing I didn’t agree with was his cynicism in regards to there being “no hope” for those who have rejected Christ – as if it was all up to their own free will (p. 173). I firmly believe that salvation is of the Lord and if they’re breathing, there’s still hope for God to intervene and open their eyes! If God is God and He’s precious and beautiful than when eyes are opened to all that He is, how could they still reject Him? But let us be responsible for our part and let God take responsibility for His.

“…I choose not to question God’s way of using unlikely messengers to reach various peoples.” (p. 55)

J. Gresham Machen by Stephen J. Nichols
J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) was a preacher, author, seminary professor and avid defender of the Christian faith. This book was neat to read especially after visiting and touring the seminary Machen founded last month (Westminster Theological Seminary near Philadelphia). The first part of this book is biographical, the second half goes through Machen’s books, writings and some of his sermons and gives you a really great picture of who he was and what he stood for. He fought hard for some very crucial doctrines of the Christian faith: the infallibility of Scripture, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ and His atonement for sin. When the organized denomination he was in (Presbyterian Church of America) kicked him out for insisting on these things (!!!) he founded his own denomination (The Orthodox Presbyterian Church), his own missions board and his own seminary! It was inspiring how much he labored for the kingdom and the Gospel and he has had a large impacted Christianity still today.

“Controversy of the right sort is good; for out of such controversy, as church history and Scripture alike teach, there comes the salvation of souls.” – J. Gresham Machen (p. 106)

Blame It On the Brain? by Edward T. Welch
Scientific research suggests that more and more behaviors are caused by imbalances or dysfunction in the brain? Is this true? Does someone’s brain make them do what they do? How do you discern between the physical and spiritual symptoms. Does Scripture speak about psychological issues? It does more than you think and here Dr. Welch offers some really great Biblical and practical advice on how to help people who are suffering with mental or brain dysfunction.

“A dysfunctional brain can make it very difficult to understand what is going on, but it can’t create sin. It can only reveal things that were previously hidden in the heart.” (p. 58)
 “God tells us how to love. When we love on our terms rather than his, we are in sin… God defines love as obedience to him.” (p. 162)

In Love With Christ: The narrative of Sarah Edwards
OK, this is one of those books that I really don’t even really know how to respond to. It not only shares Sarah’s own account of a 3-week long deep spiritual experience, but also shares observations of Sarah’s spiritual walk from her husband (Jonathan Edwards) as well that of others. It also talks about her family and the legacy she left behind. Sarah Edward’s relationship with the God is one that very much surpasses my own experience, but what an example she is to me! Her whole-hearted devotion, surrender and love for Christ left much for me to desire. I pray that I will seek the Lord with the same passion and be more in love with Christ!

“I was entirely swallowed up in God, as my only portion, and His honor and glory was the object of my supreme desire and delight.” (p. 70)

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I have never read this series and thought I should so I started reading this after I finished my finals. I won’t review it at all since most of you are familiar with it. Fun reading though! I’m also almost finished reading Anne of Avonlea (wow this one’s very different from the movie!).

Currently Reading:
Spurgeon on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare by C.H. Spurgeon (I’ve already made a dent in this big book!)

Additional books I want to finish this month:
If You Bite & Devour One Another by Alexander Strauch
The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot

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