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Guard Us, Guide Us: Divine Leading in Life's Decisions Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Christians have long struggled over discerning where and how God leads in their lives, a tense sensitivity as described by Packer, an evangelical theologian, and Nystrom, a freelance writer who has collaborated with him before. The pair delves deep into the Bible and Christian tradition to reveal the many layers associated with God's guidance, a concept that for many Christian people evokes both fascination and fear. First comes a spiritual health checkup, because without spiritual health things simply won't come right. The keys to true God-given guidance come from reliance on God's teachings and commandments in scripture; spiritual wisdom; advice from godly friends; relevant models from the past; and, finally, the Holy Spirit. Each chapter is a thorough, logical and meaty discussion of the many dimensions of the subject, often addressing mistakes and misconceptions regarding how exactly God leads. God's guidance, the authors say, is part of his larger ministry to us. That guidance applies to every large and small decision, and peace comes when the solution has been found. Packer's books are not for folks looking for a quick fix, but for those eagerly searching for deep understanding and willing to read carefully. Added benefits are a discussion of situation ethics and some reflection questions. (Mar.)
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From the Inside Flap
How do I know God's will for my life? For my career? For who I should marry? For what I should do today? Divine guidance is perhaps the subject of most keen interest to Christians as well as the least understood. In this biblical and practical exploration of divine guidance, you'll find solid foundations for understanding how and why God guides his people. Discover the role of Scripture, discernment, wisdom, the counsel of others, and the Holy Spirit in helping us discover God's will.
A helpful study guide for individual or group use is included.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is the clearest, most scripturally-based and complete treatment of this topic I have read. Starting with the need to deal with fear, the author(s) (the book was co-written with Carolyn Nystrom) use Psalm 23 as a template for divine guidance and its special treatment of our need to discard fear as a driver for our actions.
The suthors then go through the respective roles of God's Word, God's wisdom (in that regard), the counsel of friends, the problems presented by a situational ethics view for guidance, the role of the Holy Spirit and an excellent summation.
If you have read Packer, you know he likes to "pack the ideas tight", so it isn't a fast read, but it isn't like C.S. Lewis's "Miracles" either. I believe Carolyn Nystrom was instrumental in spacing the ideas out a bit so it was easier to assimilate. There are also some great questions at the end of the book so you can use the book in a group setting.
Strongly recommend this book to anyone who is seeking God's guidance as they make decisions in their lives.
Here is a new book written by two authors who construct beautiful sentences and well-crafted chapters in order to teach Christians how it is that God communicates His will to us.
This book is not short, skimpy, or sparing. It is more than just simple principles, and yet in many ways it arises from a simple (and Scriptural) formulaic understanding of divine guidance. In fact, I often felt I was reading an expanded and prosaic version of John MacArthur's straightforward "Found: God's Will" booklet (with 5 principles I can still remember twenty years later).
The basic thrust of the book is to put "an end to fear"- the fear found in the heart of a believer over what God's will is for their life. The authors combat false understandings, "some tangled tales" that hamper freedom and joy in the life of a believer who doubts whether they really can know God's will. Furthermore, the authors seek to combat the notion that one bad mistake along the journey will inevitably thwart any future attempt to be found in God's will.
They begin and end with Psalm 23 theology, establishing the "guard" and "guide" verbs of love flowing from the good shepherd to his sheep. They also show how the Word of God provides light and understanding, and how we are to obey the divine text as being the very will of God, for that it is what it is.
The vital foundation for hearing and following God's will is to be walking in overall spiritual health and vitality. This means holiness and purity and a heart desire to glorify God and obey Him. Without this commitment, a professing Christian has no reason to expect their sickly spiritual life will have ears and mind and heart to properly hear from God.
Packer and Nystrom present the church with a fresh formulation of divine spiritual direction. I am sure that additional reading and meditation will yield even more spiritual profit from their words. I can see this book being very useful for late high school and college students.
The book is too balanced sometimes. They warn of going overboard on both sides of an issue without recommending how to stay on the narrow line of correct doctrine. However, this is a minor issue. The book is definitely worth reading and meditating on.