Below is one of the chapters
Simplify Your Spiritual
with Discussion Guide
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Think Much About Heaven
The most heavenly-minded man who ever livedJesus and other biblical characters exceptedmay have been Richard Baxter. He was a remarkable Puritan pastor/writer who lived for seventy-six years (1615-1691), despite suffering with one physical malady or another almost constantly. During the winter of 1646, ill health forced him to spend several lonely months in a house far from his home and family. His condition was so grave that he was "sentenced to death by the physicians."1
With his life ebbing away, Baxter began thinking much about Heaven. As he put it, "I began to contemplate more seriously on the everlasting rest which I apprehended myself to be just on the borders of." 2 As he was able, and so "that [his] thoughts might not too much scatter in [his] meditation,"3 he wrote down his reflections that he might review and be comforted by them. These were the beginnings of perhaps the most important of his 140 books, The Saints' Everlasting Rest, published four years later.
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For Which Heaven and Jesus Do You Yearn?
So the question is not merely, "Do you yearn for Heaven and to be with Jesus?", but also "For which Heaven and Jesus do you yearn?" Growing Christians increasingly long for a holy Heaven, not just a restful one. They look forward to holy relationships, not just nostalgic ones. They sigh to see a holy Jesus. They feel less and less at home in a sinful world because they are growing more and more homesick for a holy place, a holy people, and a God who is "holy, holy, holy" (Revelation 4:8). They ache to share in this holiness more than Heaven's rest, relief, or reunions. Jonathan Edwards put it this way: "But neither a . . . longing to be in Heaven, nor longing to die, are in any measure so distinguishing marks of true saints, as longing after a more holy heart."
[Taken from page 125 of Don's book, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. Find out more about this book here.]
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Vanity and Meaning Discovering Purpose in Life
R. C. Sproul Jr. (Editor)
Contributors include Don Matzat, Ken Myers, R.C. Sproul, Mark Talbot, and
"Finding significance in the midst of
meaninglessnessvanityis the theme of Ecclesiastes and is today's ongoing
dilemma. The writers of these articles on Solomon's insights write on those
in quest of a life that is 'good.'" From the cover of "Vanity and Meaning".
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Pilgrim's Progress is reputedly the best-selling English-language book in the history of the world, next to the Bible. Many consider it the greatest allegory ever written. It's the story of a man named Christian who leaves the City of Destruction in hopes of reaching the Celestial City. What great characters! Giant Despair. Mr. GreatHeart. Mr. Facing-Both-Ways. Mr. Valiant-for-Truth. If you've never read it, you owe it to yourself to find out why Charles Spurgeon read this book at least once a year and over 100 times in his life and why Bunyan's classic still sells so well after 350 years. Pilgrim's Progress one of the books I require my students to read. Skip the long introductory poem if you want. Don't fear the "King James" language. You'll quickly get accustomed to it because it's telling a story. Because you can use every page of the story to teach the Bible and theology, it's also a great book for a group study or family reading.
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