Book Review of Found: God’s Peace by John MacArthur

 

I just finished a little book about peace and anxiety by John MacArthur called Found: God’s Peace — Experience True Freedom from Anxiety in Every Circumstance. It was originally published in 1993 and re-published in 2015 by David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Contents and Notes

The content is derived from another of MacArthur’s books called Anxious for Nothing. Like most things that MacArthur writes, it’s biblical.

He writes that God doesn’t want us to have anxiety, and that all form of worry are sin. The primary means of avoiding anxiety is through prayer (Phil. 4). We are also to think about the qualities listed in Phil. 4:8.

Peter was a worrier who told us to cast our fears on God (1 Pet. 5:5-7). This involves humility and an understanding of our identity in Him. If we know that He cares for us, we can trust Him. As we humble ourselves before Him, He will lift us up in due time.

God’s peace is not dependent on circumstances; it’s a supernatural gift. One thing we must do is to turn away from sin as sin is often a cause of the anxiety. We must also live a righteous life according to the Word.

In the last section of the book, MacArthur briefly comments on 31 different psalms which are a help to the anxious.

Reflections

All in all, it’s a quick read and helped me to turn my eyes toward God. There is nothing particularly new, nor does their need to be. I appreciate MacArthur’s biblical approach.

I’m encouraged to have my identity rooted more firmly in Him and not to doubt His goodness or my position in Him.

May we all experience more of God’s peace!

Discernment and Decision Making

As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a definite need among scrupulous people to make confident decisions regarding the will of God. This is especially true for those with OCD obsessions are they are frequently characterized by anxiety, doubt, and uncertainty. I read a helpful book on discernment by Timothy M. Gallagher called Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making. I will not attempt to articulate the complete process as laid out in the book, but will share a few of the key points.

Many times we have a difficult time making a choice when both options are good. Gallagher draws from the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola and gives a process of decision making when we’re faced with such a decision.

First of all, we need to have the right foundation and the right disposition. The right foundation is the love of God. Here’s a quote from the book: “Peter, Steven and Laura, Patricia, and Jeremy now have the foundation on which discernment can be built: they have experienced God’s love and desire to respond in communion of will with God—they seek, above all else, to do God’s will. All discernment must be built upon this foundation.”1

Second, we need to have the right disposition—openness to whatever God wills. Without this, the road to discernment is blocked.

Once these are in place, the discernment process can begin. The process involves three “modes.” The modes involve one’s spiritual state and how one should respond based upon this state. They function somewhat like a decision tree: if you’re in situation A, follow mode one; situation B, follow mode two; and so forth. The first mode is clarity from doubt; the second mode is when desolation and/or consolation are present; the third mode is when neither clarity, consolation, nor desolation are present. Each mode gives specific suggestions and steps for decision making. Within the third mode, there are an additional two “ways” of decision making. It is suggested that one go through the first “way” before going through the second “way.”

The last part of the book highlights the value and “fruit” of the discernment process. We may not like the discernment process, but there are definite benefits. These include surrender, peace, and enormous spiritual growth.

I found Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making to be a valuable contribution to the decision making process. Rather than mull and obsess over questions and decisions, we now have a way to have clarity and peace. This applies especially in tough decision in which both options are good.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Ch. 2