Thursday, March 21, 2019

Made for His Pleasure by Alistair Begg (book review)

I have to be honest that I wanted to read this book because I'm a fan of Alistair Begg. I've listened to him on podcasts and LOVE his accent (you guys, I'm a sucker for accents). I do realize you cannot listen to a paperback but I knew of Begg enough to realize this content was going to be GOOD! "Made for His Pleasure: Ten Benchmarks of a Vital Faith" by Alistair Begg is a fantastic book!

image via AmazonSmile
Even the two forewords were great, written by John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul - admonishing us as readers to "rejoice in the treasure you are holding in your hands, because it's richness will provide a clear path to follow...to that monumental face-to-face meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Made for His Pleasure" itself was a joy to read. A humble urging to help us align our lives with Christ. I want to share some of the takeaways I wrote as I read:

In regards to spiritual fitness, Begg says that "our commitment to our families can also be a hindrance if it keeps us from worship, prayer, and witness." That sounds so harsh but another source but it into perspective for me. If I'm spending so much time pouring into my children while neglecting to read my Bible or spend time in prayer, then I'm parenting them wrongly. I'm not showing them the most important thing - a relationship with Christ - but I'm making them the most important thing (which is making them idols).

While discussing Sacrifice: Wholehearted Commitment to God's Kingdom, Begg says "we need to have a sense of mission in the routine activities of our lives. In parking cars, writing term papers, pumping gas, folding laundry, selling bonds, playing sports - in whatever we are doing - we are to be living sacrifices" where our lives are totally "yielded to Jesus." This is not new material but a needed reminder for me. In my life that is made up of the mundane (whose isn't really?) - changing diapers, making supper, reading books, watching movies, exercising, etc, etc - I need God. But sometimes? It doesn't feel like it. It's easy to slip into the "I can do it myself" mind set. We know this isn't true - I cannot even breath without God's sovereignty! I need to be reminded over and over again to be reminded to yield my life, each exciting moment and boring moment, to the Lord of all Lords! This chapter leads into the one on vocation where Begg quotes Eric Alexander, "There is no ideal place to serve God except the place where He has set you down." As I make egg muffins this afternoon and listen to my son practice piano, tomorrow as I teach my daughter to write her name and change the other boy's diapers, this weekend as I travel to visit family, all of that - I need to yield it all to Jesus. My words, my deeds, my thoughts, my life.

"The Puritan Thomas Watson said, 'Our sufferings may be lasting, not everlasting.'" Begg's chapter on suffering is maybe my favorite chapter. The last four years of our lives have had painful sufferings - chronic pain, medical issues with our son, the baby stage (I know that may not seem like suffering to some but it's super hard for us). "We should neither court suffering nor complain about it." I cannot say I ever had an attitude like this, but I wish I had. It's easy to complain when suffering occurs, but "instead, we should see it as one of the means God chooses to employ to make us increasingly useful to the Master. It is from this perspective that James urges his readers to 'consider it pure joy...whenever you face trials of many kinds.' (James 1:2)." I've also been reading an autobiography by Joni Eareckson and she went through immense suffering with her quadriplegia but she came to the conclusion that it was for God's glory and His work that she broke her neck! Katherine Wolfe has also said something similar after surviving a stroke and aneurysm that left her disabled - her wheelchair that she uses has opened her up to lean on the Lord and allow Him to use her life as He wills.

There are difficult chapters in this book. If you are lukewarm in your faith, this is not for you. But if you are all in for Christ, this book is gold! Read it alongside your Bible and you will grow in your faith. You will not find yourself falling into spiritual flabbiness but your spiritual muscles will be useful in God's kingdom! "We must recognize that to be a witness for Christ is both a duty and a privilege" and that starts today!

I wish I could share more but then I'd end up writing the whole book in this post! ha! So do yourself a favor and go get this book - buy it on Amazon, borrow it from the library.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and may not be the same as yours'. 

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