Free Friday! The Silence of God

AndersonSilenceGodHappy Friday everyone! Today’s free download, usually $9.95,  is  The Silence of God by Robert Anderson. Click here to download.

The most prolific fancy, the most facile pen, would fail to picture or portray, in their endless variety, the experiences which have thus stamped out the last embers of faith in many a crushed and desolated heart. “There are times,” as a Christian writer puts it, “when the heaven that is over our heads seems to be brass, and the earth that is under us to be iron, and we feel our hearts sink within us under the calm pressure of unyielding and unsympathising law.” How true the statement, but how inadequate! If it were merely on behalf of this or that individual that God failed to interfere, or on one occasion or another, belief in His infinite wisdom and goodness ought to check our murmurs and soothe our fears. And, further, if, as in the days of the patriarchs, even a whole generation passed away without His once declaring Himself, faith might glance back, and hope look forward, amidst heart searchings for the cause of His silence. But what confronts us is the fact, explain it as we may, that for eighteen centuries the world has never witnessed a public manifestation of His presence or His power.

If God really cares, why has He let millions on earth suffer, starve and fall prey to the ravages of nature? Why has He been silent for nearly two millennia? The author gives a thorough and Scriptural answer and also discusses the subject of miracles today with excellent answers.

Sir Robert Anderson was born in Mountjoy Square, Dublin, Ireland in 1841. On leaving school, Anderson began a business apprenticeship in a large factory, but after eighteen months he decided not to go into business and left. After studying in Boulogne-sur-Mer and Paris, he entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1862, and in 1863 was called to the Irish Bar. He received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Trinity College in 1875.

Anderson became a respected member of the Irish Home Office and an expert on criminal investigation. In 1888, he was summoned to Scotland Yard, London, to serve as Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, an office he filled with distinction until retirement in 1896. At his retirement, he was knighted by Queen Victoria; and in 1901, King Edward VII made him Knight Commander.

Anderson was a member of the Plymouth Brethren, first with Darby then with the Open Brethren party, before returning to his Presbyterian roots. In the midst of all his many duties, he managed to gain a profound knowledge of the Bible, preach in various conferences, and write seventeen books. Anderson died from the Spanish Influenza in 1918 and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.

After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page.

Guest Blog – I Am God’s Fruit Basket

avatarHave you ever lived a life so filled with pain and despair you begin to wonder why God would allow you to survive a lifetime of suffering? What did you do to deserve this pain? As Job cried out, “If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?” (Job 7:20) For me the irony dug deep as a man with bipolar disorder, over the years I began to feel the pull into ministry. It seemed ridiculous at first; that I, a man with so many issues, should become a shepherd of Christ. The words of James in particular become a stinging conviction; “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6-8)

I have often felt so blown around by the winds of my own mental instability that I’m simply incapable of connecting with God. So many times have I said, “”I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 10:1) How can one ever find meaning in all this mess?

Peter wrote to the church, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.  As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2) To those that serve he said, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Whatever strength I have within me always feels insufficient for God’s service, but Peter here reveals the secret; “he should do it with the strength God provides.” God provides the strength to accomplish all things. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 is not merely a nice saying, it’s a spiritual truth.

One of those things God provided me was June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys through WORDsearch. It’s a large index of articles that lead you through various hardships people go through in life, from Abortion to Worry. It can be a quick read that not only provides an accurate background into these conditions, but an excellent point for point analysis with scriptural support. It has been especially encouraging to me, as I find quite a few of these issues covered are ones that I struggle with.

It has helped form my identity as God’s fruit basket; afflictions can often become blessings. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) In the end this counsel has helped me come to terms with these afflictions and how they will complete my ministry. As James said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Michael Wright is a recent Magna Cum Laude graduate of Liberty University and longtime WORDsearch user. He currently serves in the Celebrate Recovery ministry in Spokane, WA. His blog can be found at www.thedubshack.net.

Weekly Devotional – Worship in Suffering

65894_156138861201803_148489531_nHave you ever sat in worship and thought to yourself, “This is getting old”?  Sometimes even the most devout Christians can find themselves in a rut, feeling as if all they are doing is spinning their wheels spiritually.  The answer is not to give up on worship, but rather to explore ways in which our worship experience can inform our “real-world” experience.

Take for instance, the issue of suffering.  Some have asked me what to say to those in the midst of great suffering.  The one thing I can say for sure is that no course or internship at a seminary can provide the words to say to those who are hurting.  Many times we only make matters worse when we try to mend deep wounds with shallow words, all the while inadvertently minimizing the pain felt by those who grieve.  The only answer that I can give, and the only answer that I feel gives us any hope, is that God in the person of Jesus Christ knows what it is to suffer.  Normally in worship, if we speak of suffering it is in relation to what Christ endured.

Communion is a specific time when we reflect on the night of Jesus betrayal, and how in the Last Supper Jesus instituted a memorial full of depth and meaning.  But is it possible that when we gather around the table, there is more than simply Christ’s suffering in view?  When we surround our Lord’s Table, we discover a Messiah who understands our humanity even in its most painful moments.

Our God is not one who casually observes our trials and tribulations, desensitized to the human experience.  No, ours is a God who took on human flesh, walked among us, and came face to face with loss, pain, and betrayal.  For a long time, I never paid much attention to Paul’s words to the Corinthians that “the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread” (I Cor. 11:23).  It is possible to read Paul’s account of the Last Supper through the lens of not just Jesus’ suffering, but our own.  When we do, those words, “on the night when he was betrayed” become much more than a side-note referencing the time when Jesus chose to institute this feast we celebrate in His honor.  Rather, they stand as a testimony to suffering Christ endured, even before the cross.  They remind us of a God who not only suffers, but suffers with us.  Of all the times to inaugurate a feast celebrating our liberation from sin and death, Jesus chose a time when one of his closest friends was in the process of betraying Him.  He chose a time when the ominous shadow of the cross stood before Him, dominating the landscape of His future.

When we experience moments of great loss we are tempted to ask why God allows suffering. Instead of dwelling on the presence of suffering, as Christians we must challenge ourselves to delight in the presence of a God who entered our world of sin and death, and suffered Himself.  Communion is God’s reminder to us that just as the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross was eclipsed by His resurrection, so our periods of pain and loss will be eclipsed by God’s promise of new and abundant life in Christ.  How marvelous is our God who snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, and life from the cold grasp of death itself.  How wonderful is the Lamb of God who not only dies to take away the sins of the world, but in the end stands victorious beside the throne of God itself.

Justin Simmons graduated with his M.A. from the University of South Carolina and continued on to receive his M. Div. from Emory University.  He is now minister of a church in Glenmora, Louisiana.  He loves reading, sports and hanging out with his wife and kids. You can read more on his blog here.