Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reading List! (June 30, 2015)

Finished this month:

Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti Anyabwile
This is a short book (95 pages) so a quick read and yet really great thoughts and meditations on the death and resurrection of Christ. Great reminders and very encouraging to me as I seek to fix my eyes on Christ and walk in Him – it’s all because of what He’s done! His death means the death of death, and His resurrection means victory and life for all who believe. What hope, what joy we have!
Get it here
“To be turned face-to-face with God the Father is the Bible’s idea of the highest possible blessing and happiness.” (p. 36)
“Life lived in light of the resurrection realizes that knowing Jesus and being with Jesus is the greatest possible future.” (p. 66)

Trusting God - even when life hurts by Jerry Bridges

“God will never allow any action against you that is not in accord with His will for you. And His will is always directed to our good.” (p. 71)

It’s really hard to believe that sometimes. This is one of those books, that when you’re actually going through what it’s talking about (ie. your life really does hurt) that it’s really hard to read. But this book is just so packed with so much truth and in the end I was so very encouraged! God CAN be trusted. This book will remind you of that. 
Get it here

“I knew the truth regarding God’s sovereignty. What I had to do was decide if I would trust Him, even when my heart ached. I realized anew that, just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time. Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will. I never feel like trusting God… but I can choose to do so even when I don’t feel like it. That act of belief of the will, though, must be based on belief, and belief must be based on truth.” (p. 52)

“The good that He brings about is often different from the good we envision.” (p. 120)

Faith on Trial: Psalm 73 by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
This books is based on a sermon series by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who is one a preacher/writter that I really like. We all have them… those times when everyone else seems to be doing better, and even those who reject God are prospering and loving life yet here we are suffering. We struggle with life’s seemingly unfairness and are tempted to question God’s love and goodness.  Come along the psalmists as he shares his journey of questioning God to trusting and praising Him. 
Get it here

 “All our troubles are ultimately due to the fact that we are governed by our feelings and our hearts and sensibilities instead of by clear thinking and the honest facing of things before God.” (p. 103)
“The greatest of all blessings is just to know God and to be in His presence.” (p. 158)

Infant Baptism & the Covenant of Grace by Paul Jewett
Great book! Super interesting! Paul Jewett writes from a Covenantal perspective against infant baptism (which is rather rare). I came away better understanding the paedobaptist view of baptism and being better equipped to argue against it. He is very balanced in his view of Scripture and correctly sees that it is progressing. “Paedobaptists tend to be insensitive to the movement of revelation from the broader dimension of Old Testament externalism to the deeper dimension of New Testament inwardness.” (p. 228) The types in the OT are fulfilled spiritually in the NT, it’s a spiritual kingdom and a spiritual family we are apart of now. Baptism belongs to those who have themselves professed faith in Christ, and to those only. To baptize infants takes away its meaning – it’s symbolism of what God has already done inwardly. 
Get it here

“But in the New Testament, the only way to become a member of the church is not by natural birth [or baptism] but by a new birth.” (p. 223)
 “Since there are no longer covenant blessings in an external sense [i.e. land], there is no justification in giving the covenant sign to those who are our children in an external sense, that is, our children according to the flesh.” (p. 235)

Free Indeed by Dr. Richard Ganz
This was a very thought-provoking book. How easily we can become slaves of our own hearts, slaves of other people’s convictions or opinions. What does it mean that Christ has set us free? How is this freedom to be attained? How is it to be lived out? The truth is that we have been set free from many things and this is a GLORIOUS truth! At the same time though we are set free from sin/self/the world to be under the authority of Christ. True freedom is found in surrender to the One for whom we were made. Only then will we experience the freedom and joy we seek.  It is for freedom that Christ has made us free!
(Note: there were a few minor things I’m not sure I totally agreed with [just because sometimes I’m super picky theologically], but I would still recommend you reading it. It gave me a LOT to think about in regards to my own life.) Get it here.

“The knowledge of God presupposes our ability to be excellent. When we aren’t excellent, we are lying about God. That is why disobedience and sin in general is so serious… The call to perfection is not meant to break us, but to move us into the realm where the knowledge of God is continually infused into our lives.” (p. 95)
“The joy and freedom of the Christian life is always available, but it is only available as we live in obedience to Him.” (p. 97)

The Believer’s Sabbath by John G. Reisinger
This is just a short booklet on what the Sabbath means to us as New Covenant believers. The 7th day of creation shows God resting from His work. Sin however interrupted this rest and humanity lost its ability to have eternal rest. The Sabbath law was instituted in Exodus as a pre-Gospel of sin the rest that was to come through the Messiah. And when Christ did come and complete the work of salvation He restored unto His people this eternal rest. What joy!
Get it here.
Currently Reading:
Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson
The Law of Christ by Charles Leiter

Additional books I want to read this next month:
A Praying Life by Paul Miller

Saturday, June 20, 2015

He Heals the BrokenHearted

Sometimes life breaks our heart. Maybe a person let us down, maybe hopes and dreams were dashed, maybe sickness ruined our plans, maybe death took away our loved one, whatever it might be life sometimes leaves us with wounds that can’t be fixed with a band aid. I know what it’s like to hurt, to lose, to wish that life could just be over so the pain would stop. It was amidst this deep darkness and emotional pain that someone told me, “Amelia, I know it’s hard to believe this right now, but the pain will leave. Be patient, keep holding on, God will heal you.” It was hard to believe. When you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel life is very, very discouraging. But in the midst of the storm going on inside of me, I had a rock, and His name was Jesus. Even though I didn’t understand, even though I struggled, I held on to that fragment of faith I had left.

And then God did heal me. It took over a year and a half, but God healed me. One day I suddenly realized there was no underlying sense of sadness and grief anymore. Gone was the weight that had so long pulled me down to despair. And while I still sometimes wonder “why”, I don’t doubt His goodness anymore. I cried then, but these were no longer tears of sadness, rather, tears of happiness. How faithful God had been to me! He had restored me, healed my heart even though I knew I didn’t deserve it. Surely I didn’t. I wish I could say I responded to my trial better, I wish I could say I had a joyful heart and accepted whatever God brought into my life, but I didn’t. I was angry and bitter, and there were times where I was practically pushing Him away. But you know what? He wouldn’t let me go. I was honest with God and vented my anger and bitterness, but then He would gently remind me that He was God, He was my Creator and being angry with Him was not OK. He convicted me ever so gently of my unbelief and doubt and I had to admit that I was actually sinning in my response and cry out to Him to rescue and restore me. Deep down God had placed in me a faith that would never fail and through His grace, even in my darkest times when I felt like I was at the end of my “faith” rope, even then I was given strength to hang on. I am so thankful that God’s grace is sovereign enough to keep me even when I fail and strong enough to heal us when we are broken. I love this quote from Charles Spurgeon: "God is too good to be unkind, too wise to be mistaken; and when you cannot trace His hand, you can trust His heart."  

Perhaps you are in a waiting time right now… perhaps you wonder if the healing will ever come, if you will ever “get over it”, if you will ever really feel happy again. While there are some things that God may see fit to leave us with for the rest of our lives, God does promise to heal our hearts, to strengthen our faith, to equip us to stand in the midst of difficulty. Friend, let my story encourage you – God heals the brokenhearted. He does! Let the song below encourage you…. I would often put it on repeat and listen to it over and over again. He is faithful. Hold on. He will come and He will heal your heart.