Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brokenness: The Heart God Revives

I was excited when I received a new book to review, but when I opened it, I wasn't as enthusiastic. The book is titled Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. I was suspicious. Does God have plans of breaking me that's why He sent me this book? In the past, books I've read have either answered my question, edified me in times of weakness, or prepared me to face a challenge. What's the purpose this time? I shelved the book but promised to read it later.

After a few weeks, I reunited with a friend whom I haven't seen in 20 years. We exchanged stories but most of the time, I let him share how his life had been since we last saw each other. He had what you might describe a "roller coaster ride"--enjoying cycles of success in his business yet enduring seasons of dryness in his spiritual life. But he repeatedly claimed that God had restored him to a renewed sense of purpose after he had been "broken". It was then that I remembered the book.

I took a renewed interest in the book. In her introduction, author Nancy Leigh DeMoss said, "This book is an invitation to encounter God in a whole new way. It is a call to discover His heart and His ways; a challenge to embrace a radically new way of thinking and living, in which the way up is down, death brings life, and brokenness is the pathway to wholeness."

I quickly turned to Chapter 1. The title is "The Heart of the Matter". A quotation from Samuel Chadwick lies at the center of the page: "It is a wonder what God can do with a broken heart, if He gets all the pieces."

I was pleasantly surprised at how things were turning out. The truth is, I was preparing for a talk for women on the topic of having a pure heart. I can see that God led me to this book so I could glean some truth to inspire my would-be audience. As I read, I jotted down notes. DeMoss described what brokenness is. She gathered portraits from the Bible and contrasted the broken and the unbroken. David and Saul. The tax collector and the Pharisee. The prodigal son and the elder brother. All of them sinned, but the first of the pairs repented, while the latter remained proud.

DeMoss led me even deeper into the kind of heart that is full of pride. In Chapter 4, she made a comparison of proud people and broken people. The list was not exhaustive but sufficient enough to prick me. God made me see how pride was hardening my heart. There are things I need to repent of if I were to continually have a fresh encounter with God and fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.

At the start, I said I was suspicious and a bit fearful that God might have plans to break me. I also said I believe God sent me this book so I could have something valuable to share to a group of ladies. Now I know it was I who needed to hear the truth first. God was speaking to me though the book. He wants me to be broken, not to destroy my personality, but to crush my self-will and make me more dependent on Him.

The heart God revives is one that is broken--humble, contrite, and in need of God's grace. When we are broken, the blessings of heaven are released--a supernatural, abundant life in Christ, deeper love and deeper worship, and anointing to minister in a fresh, mighty way.

I recommend Brokenness: The Heart God Revives to anyone who wants to have a fresh encounter with God. Brokenness: The Heart God Revives is published in the Philippines by Church Strengthening Ministry. Available at CSM Bookstore.

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