The following is a book review I wrote for a class I took at my church in spring 2011 (Bible Boot camp / Fundamentals of the Faith) on the book Slave by John MacArthur. See after the break for the full review.
Has God broken you yet? I remember a teacher at a former church talking about that.. he was talking about how scary in some sense it was to want to ask God to break him. I remember thinking about that and also being trepidatious about asking the Lord for the same thing. “Lord, please break me”. Yikes! But… can we get truly closer to God without being broken?
I was just reading last night in Psalm 51. In verse 5 (Ps 51:5), David says that we are born sinners – echoed a number of places (Genesis 8:21, Psalm 58:3, etc.). That’s it. Which means by definition we cannot get to God on our own, since only sinless persons can. We need to accept Christ as the atonement for our sins – something we can’t do unless we believe in Him.
In verse 10 (Ps 51:10), David asks for God to create in him a pure heart.. something only He can do.
Then we get to verse 16 (Ps 51:16), where David is reminded that God does not want sacrifices in the terms of the Levitical sacrifices (burnt offerings) – otherwise David would’ve brought them. No – God wants (Ps 51:17) the sacrifice of a “broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart“.
God wants a broken heart. How else can He make it pure.. make it new to be filled with His desires, not our own evil desires (which are there from birth)?
So… are you broken?
I was just reading in Psalm 49 – it talks about not putting faith in your wealth. You can’t “buy” salvation. AND – no one can attain salvation for you (Ps 49:7-8). The whole Psalm is a great reminder of the place wealth should have – it’s a nice blessing – but you can’t take anything with you (Ps 49:17). He who “dies with the most toys”, without understanding, will be like the beasts of the earth (Ps 49:20).
… and know that I am God – Ps 46:10 (a)
very powerful verse. Just read that this morning.. don’t know if I ever knew where that verse was before.. now I do 🙂
My study notes say that “know” => “acknowledge” and the Hebrew word used for “be still” means “enough!”… so a little different meaning than I have normally thought. I had always thought of it similar to Elijah’s experience in 1 Kings 19:11-12 .. where Elijah was on a mountain and there was wind, an earthquake, and fire – but God wasn’t in those – He was in the “still small voice” that came after them. But.. hmmm… now that I think.. *He* has the “still small voice”.. and here in the Psalm – the Word says to the reader to “be still” or “Enough!” – “stop it! Acknowledge that I am God!” .. hmm. I guess it’s one and the same.. we have to “stop it” to be able to be still and actively acknowledge that He is God. Interesting things to think about.
Psalm 42 starts off book 2 of the Psalms. It starts with
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
That’s a pretty cool image, huh?
I was also reading in Mark 8:11-38. The first part of that is about the Pharisees seeking a sign from Heaven from Jesus, to prove who He was / what His authority was / etc. Jesus responds “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”.
Doesn’t that sound like a discourse that could go on today in the USA? People want proof of things, especially God, yet… would they believe in a miracle if they saw one? I was just chatting about miracles yesterday with a friend’s dad – the context was talking about India I believe. People there and in Africa and elsewhere are used to thinking about a spiritual realm, whereas I don’t think people here are. People here are brought up now seeing so many movies and TV shows with special effects and content about myths debunked and conspiracy cover-ups and a media that sensationalizes many things. There is widespread skepticism about things and how they actually happened. So presenting them with a true miracle I think would be met with incredulity.
I’ve become Mr Newton. How did that happen? When does “Jonathan” become “Mr Newton”. ….
When Jonathan becomes a teacher! Unless the Lord shows me differently overnight (which would be odd given the plethora of confirmations and leading that He’s done in the last several months of my life) – I will officially be Mr Newton on Monday.. when I become the teacher of a Physics course at Caritas Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hmm… a Newton teaching Physics. Yeah – nothing to see here – move along. 🙂
It’s been an interesting journey getting to this point, but I really think the Lord has been leading me to this. What He intends to do with the learnings I’ll have in the next 9 months or so of teaching.. I don’t know right now – but I think it is for equipping me for something later.
My time over the next 9 months is going to be rather booked, but it’s an exciting thing to think about being a teacher. Shaping young minds, helping them to understand the governing principles of the physical world that God has placed before them. Dat’s kinda coo’
They even said I can wear shorts!
I’m very grateful that my management at Intel is letting me do this.. it’ll be rough at times with all the work I have to do at Intel too (and my contract web design work), but I think it’s in His will and I look forward to seeing how it’s going to be. Intel even donates $10 / hr for every hour I put in relating to the class (since I will be doing it on a volunteer basis) – so it’ll even earn the school a bit of money, which is a blessing.
Now put away your books – it’s time for a pop-quiz! 😛
maybe if we get done with the book early enough, we can do a rocketry section. that would be so cool…
Off to bed… finally.
Yesterday’s and today’s readings: Ps 36, Ps 37:1-11, Lev 4, Lev 5, Lev 6, Lev 7, Mk 2:13-3:30, Prov 10:1-4
Funny how God likes to reinforce things. In my last post on guarding my heart, the Lord reminded me of Ps 37:4, which I just read this morning. Also – last night as I was leading a Bible study on John 16:16-33, it came up during our discussion time – I mentioned it in regard to what Jesus was saying in Jn 16:23-24 about asking for something in His name. I don’t think you can ask for winning the lottery in Christ’s name – since it’s incongruous with His character. But if we “delight ourselves in the Lord” – again, our desires match His – and in that, we can ask in His name and it will be given.
In all of the Levitical law – there are so MANY sacrificial governances.. I was just reading today about if you sin unintentionally.. you were still guilty and had to make a sacrifice for it when you were made aware of it. I am so glad that system isn’t in place anymore!
Do you point to Him or yourself? Our worship leader showed this Sunday – as a funny but poignant reminder that it’s not about us AT ALL. It’s about Him. I pray you seek His face!
Something the Lord has been speaking to me recently, in context with some (good) things in my life.. Prov 4:23 – “Above all else – guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”.
In our small group – we’re going through the SHAPE series – and we just chatted on Tuesday about chapter 7 – “Removing Roadblocks to a Surrendered Soul”. One of the things Erik Rees talks about in this chapter is that we have to give it ALL to God – our worries, wounds, wrongs, weaknesses, and wishes. I think one of the ones I’ve struggled with the most is giving up a certain strong desire (wish) of my heart. For the longest time – I didn’t want to give up that dream, and so didn’t hand it over – not wanting to ever hear from the Lord that He had chosen me not to have that dream fulfilled. It’s still a struggle – to let Him have control over that dream. In Matthew 7:10-12, Matthew 6:29-31 – Jesus talks about how much God loves us and how He will take care of the things we desire. I’m reminded of Ps 37:4 – first delight yourself in the Lord.. meaning – if you take delight in the things that He takes delight in.. then your heart’s desires will be the same as His, and of course He’ll grant them! The closer I’ve gotten to Him over the years – the more this desire (the one I haven’t wanted to give up in the past) has grown, so I do believe it is pleasing to Him (and it’s part of how He designed all of us).
Anywho – still guarding my heart!
Today – read Ps 31, Ps 32, Ps 33, Ps 34, Ps 35
Ps 33:4 – For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth.
There’s nothing chaotic or out-of-whack with God’s Word and the truth contained therein. It is right and true – and His handiwork shows order and goodness and thoughtfulness. It’s not “all relative” as our post-modern culture would have us believe. There is absolute truth, and it’s not something confusing or out-of-touch with “reality”.
The heavenly hosts made by His breath. That’s pretty powerful – that the universe is commanded into being by a breath..
Your praise is always on my lips.. I love this song: All things are possible
That is such a comfort! He is there in times of trouble – I can vouch for that! But then it says “many are the afflictions”.. not fun to hear – but “the LORD delivers him out of them all” – another comfort.
Wow – David says these others bore false witness against him, rewarded him evil when he did good.. but when they were sick – he prostrated himself and even fasted and prayed for them… acting as if they were a friend or brother – and mourned as if for his mother. That’s challenging to do.. love your enemies.