In John Piper's "A Godward Heart" he offers up 50 short chapters on topics ranging from "What does it mean to seek the Lord?"and "Glorifying the grace of God" to "Confrontation in marriage", and "Loving your neighbor". I hesitate to call this a devotional as each chapter is more-so a short passage from Piper's teachings or even an excerpt from some of his other books that provide some great topics to meditate on throughout the day.
I must admit that I generally have a really hard time getting through Piper's books. To this day I have only completed one of them, and that after many months of stopping and starting again. As someone who generally reads pretty quickly and purely for entertainment I have a hard time with Piper's books as I can generally only read a few pages at a time before I have to stop and wrestle through what I've read before I can fully wrap my head around it. I have really enjoyed going through "A Godward Heart" as each chapter is only 3-4 pages long, and that's about all I can read at one time. I've started reading this along with my daily devotions, and often find myself thinking back over it throughout the day.
I would definitely recommend this book to someone who wants a little something extra to supplement their time in the word (not replace it!), but may have a hard time getting through some of the longer theology books out there.
Since being introduced to John Piper while attending college, I have always loved reading his books, articles, sermons and blog. Being one of the best known biblical scholars, his passion for Christ and deep theology are compelling.
This particular book is a devotional of sorts. Piper states from the beginning that this book was intended to be a collection of thoughts to grow deeper with Christ. I particularly love the wisdom in his statement, "it is often a paragraph or sentence or phrase that has made a huge difference in my life. Sometimes a single paragraph can be life changing."
Within the first few chapters, it is clear that there is no cohesiveness or common theme throughout the book. It seemed as though each new chapter was a surprise. Piper takes deep, controversial topics and breaks them down into bite sized pieces of wisdom. Many chapters address cultural issues that other scholars and churches are too hesitant to take a bold stance on. Each chapter is brief - an easy and refreshing read to plug in during a break.
One of my favorite quotes from the book: "God's love for us is not mainly his making much of us, but his giving us the ability to enjoy making much of him forever."
Since this book took on a different flow compared to his other writings, it caught me off guard. I was slightly disappointed, but that was probably a result of my expectations based on my previous experience with him. Despite that, for a devotional book, it was great.
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I have never read anything by John Piper, though I have heard good things. I saw the A Godward Heart was up for review, and I decided to request it since I had been wanting to read one of Piper's books.
A Godward Heart is somewhat like a devotional book - it contains 50 chapters, and they are short enough to read in 5 minutes or less. I think some of the readings might be excerpts from some of his other books, but I don't think all of them are.
I would say that this was not like a typical light devotional! Piper discusses some deep theological topics and tough issues in light of what Scripture says. Each chapter really made me think, and it brought my focus back to God. I found myself reading several at a time, because though the subjects were not light, it wasn't the kind of book where you have to stop and think about each point before moving on to the next one. Each chapter encouraged me and made me want to read the next.
After reading a Godward Heart, I am interested in reading more by John Piper! I'd definitely recommend this for anyone who is looking for a devotional book that goes deeper than the surface and dives into biblical truths.
Note: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multonomah's Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review. This is my honest opinion.
This is a collection of insights from Piper. Some insights, he notes, do not take a whole book to communicate. Sometimes a single paragraph can be life changing.
Some of the topics he covers include what it means to seek the Lord, recognizing the possibility of idolatry, voting in a world that is passing away, why Christians suffer, Chesterton's Orthodoxy, marriage, nine ways to love your Muslim neighbor, pastors and media attention, Abraham Lincoln and divine providence, and social media.
This collection is really a variety and I could detect no cohesive theme running through it. For example, one devotion is on the I-35W bridge collapse. Another contains tips on talking to depressed people. Some are insights into puzzling Scripture. Another is on women in combat. And the length of the meditations vary as well. Some are as short as two pages while others weigh in at six pages.
This is a great book for people who like Piper (as I do). Piper is a strong believer in God's sovereignty. Be prepared for that to be proclaimed in these meditations. For example, in the meditation on lying: "We mean that God governs all things in the universe, including the sins of sinful men." (52)
It is also good for people with a short attention span or people who routinely have a few moments in which they can read a short meditation. It would be a good book to have in the car as a meditation could be read while waiting to pick up the kids from school or similar situations.
There is a kind of serendipity to the book as every meditation is a surprise.
Food for thought: "God's love for us is not mainly his making much of us, but his giving us the ability to enjoy making much of him forever." (13)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this independent and honest review.
"A Godward Heart" by John Piper is a collection of 50 brief meditations, each designed to take the reader deeper in their relationship with God. The book is meant to be savored slowly, pondered, wrestled with. You may not agree with everything that Piper presents in this book, but allow yourself to be challenged. Think deeply about what you believe and why.
The meditations include reflections on particular Scripture passages, marriage and parenting, certain doctrinal positions, and thoughts about current culture. There isn't a particular pattern or order the meditations follow, which gives it a slight feel of disjointedness. But, taken one bite at a time, there will be plenty to mull over!
Some of my favorite meditations include "The Morning I Heard the Voice of God", "What's the Place of Confrontation in Marriage?", "What Love Does and Does Not Do", and "Why Require Unregenerate Children to Act Like They're Good?".
Piper generally puts out wonderful devotional material and this one is no exception. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who desires to think critically and be challenged in their spiritual growth as a Christian.
(I've received this complimentary book from Waterbrook-Multnomah through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)