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Polishing God's Monuments: Pillars of Hope for Punishing Times [Paperback]

By Jim Andrews (Author)
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Item description for Polishing God's Monuments: Pillars of Hope for Punishing Times by Jim Andrews...

Polishing God?s Monuments is the true story of a young woman and her devoted husband who face it all (and then some) as a baffling, mind-boggling illness hijacks their youth and shatters their dreams. Polishing God?s Monuments blends straightforward theology with the account of this young couple?s afflictions. A sober reality in the life of faith is that ?through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.? God?s people are buffeted in two ways: sometimes we suffer for the faith and other times we suffer with faith. Either way, our faith remains a work in progress. In the midst of troubles, our emotions can vacillate between hope and despair, submission and rebellion. Our understanding can alternate between moments of comprehension and times of total confusion. This book confronts these issues head-on and offers believers biblical perspective, practical direction, and sustaining hope.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Shepherd Press
Pages   286
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.14" Width: 6.35" Height: 0.81"
Weight:   0.93 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2007
Publisher   SHEPHERD PRESS #760
ISBN  097675827X  
ISBN13  9780976758273  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living

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Reviews - What do customers think about Polishing God's Monuments: Pillars of Hope for Punishing Times?

Theology of Suffering in Plain Language  May 29, 2009
Somehow I tend to believe more the preaching about suffering from those who actually have such a testimony. One example is Jim Andrews here in the account of the faithfulness of God in the trials of his daughter Juli and her husband, Paul. Jim explains the theology of suffering in a most interesting and humane way. It's neither all Bible expositions nor all stories, but both and. The former includes the definition of the love of God in answering the question why God seemed to act the contrary in the Old Testament; specifically in the account of the slaughter of the Amalekites; even today in an attempt to address the problem of evil and suffering. A particular section that I thoroughly appreciate was when he brings up Lamentation 3. Perhaps it is just because I haven't read this passage thoroughly before but I sense Jim expounds with power and I was blessed much as a result (p.125-133). He also takes a jab at Opentheism, defines what it is, and why it is unbiblical and destructive. For a more rigorous treatment on this important subject, however, I suggest "Beyond the Bounds" (Ed., John Piper and Justin Taylor). But the meat of the message Jim tries to convey is his personal counsels on how to respond to adversity founded on the reality (and the beauty, I should say), of the mystery and monuments of God. Here are a few memorable quotes in this regard,

"[Polishing God's monuments] ... is the active memory of those demonstrations and confirmations of God's goodness, wisdom and power and faithfulness what we have stored up from our past... Whenever you pray, polish your personal monuments" (p.44).

"We live in an intentional world where the providence of God reigns. The hand of God is in all things, not usually perceptibly or loudly, but silently, mysteriously, and so effectively that he maintains control of the course of history. We can think of history as the working out of his promises" (p. 183).

"Providence is [quoting Berkhof]... that continued exercise of the divine energy whereby the Creator preserves all his creatures, is operative in all that comes to pass in the world, and directs all things to their appointed end... Even the small and most unsuspecting details of life lead toward a rendezvous with his sometimes secret, but always wise and just result" (p. 185).

"I will not demand that God explain himself to me at any time, for this is characteristic of the unregenerate man. I must be willing to let God be unreasonable, in my view, if necessary, because he is not concerned with my understanding, but with my faith. The unregenerate man sees contradiction in the world and demands that God justify himself before him; the believing man makes no such demand, but believes God supremely" (p.51).

Now the stories are mostly told in the letter form written to his congregation since Jim is a pastor. He relates the providence of God in his family to theology; an anthropo-sensitive theology, I should say. The book opens with an account of Juli's childhood tragedy which was too painful to read and imagine that such an event could happen to any little girl. Her struggles with medical issues turned even more painful when she reached adulthood after she was married. The conditions she went through were so excruciating and numerous, not only in terms of the intensity and the unpredictability of her pains, but also by the jargons of medical terms that are foreign to me because they are so rare and bizarre, though not all of them. If there were a stellar example of what "for better or worse, in sickness and health and till death do us part" means, one should look no further than Juli and Paul. Jim is someone who understands people, even more so through the furnace experience of his daughter. Here is an example why I commend the humane-ness of his treatments, counsels and strategies on how to respond rightly to afflictions. And the humane-ness is often displayed in great humors. Laughter is indeed a good, not the best medicine.

"Most men and women of God will experience passion surges when misused, misunderstood, and misrepresented. It's okay to acknowledge (not to say `approve) every blip on our emotional radar, from wells of anger to bitterness, resentment, grief, and despondency. Let's cut ourselves a little slack here and be human. Grace just means we're urban renewal projects in process.

Lord, deliver us from those `saints' who pretend to live in a passion-free zone, who always convey the impression they walk through these emotional mine fields with perfect equanimity. I'm sorry, but those `saints' are `aints.' Such folks are either liars or zombies" (p.69).

When struggling with faith in the midst of afflictions, what one needs is a solid theology of suffering in plain language, an unshakable shelter of the Most High; a strong tower to dwell and abide in the midst of seemingly incessant and merciless storms of life. This is what Jim Andrews offers; to quote Joni Aerekson Tada, that this book "... hits head-on the hardest questions we have about the goodness of God and the problem of suffering." And if there were any visible purpose one can be confident of behind suffering, I believe is this; to quote Bruce Ware, "to grow deeply in Christ, and to cherish the sure and certain promise of the gospel."
A Life Impacting Book  Feb 28, 2008
There are few books that have impacted me like this one has. In a time when so many churches preach prosperity, happiness without an end and a life with no problems, Pastor Jim Andrews reminds us that God's purpose in life is not to make us happy, but to make us holy. As he relates the story of his daughter and son-in-law, who seem to know no end to their "sorrows", he teaches that even in the hard times, we must look to what God has done in the past . We may look to our own experiences, to what the Bible teaches and to the experiences of others. This is what he calls "polishing God's monuments". Certainly this book has provided me with more monuments to polish. Because I am married to a preacher and truly love to hear God's word preached, I especially enjoyed his writing style. As I read, I could almost hear his voice preaching from the pulpit. It is a book I will re-read and share with many others.
A Pageant of Faithfulness  Jan 20, 2008
Journey with a family that has been in a furnace of almost unimaginable affliction for twenty years. When Pastor Andrews' daughter and her husband came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1987, neither they nor their parents had any idea that this would be the first in a rash of cruel diseases. Juli and Paul, the daughter and son-in-law, were subjected to so many limitations by Juli's illness that they could not even lead normal lives. Juli could not read a book or be near Paul after he had been out in public - at some points, she could not even set foot on the floor to get out of bed. And their promising lives as young, brilliant college graduates took a devastating turnaround.

Against the backdrop of this grievous tale, Jim paints a picture of trust in God's faithfulness and simple, day-to-day faithfulness. His image of "polishing God's monuments" is one I will not soon forget. He says that when we are in the depths of suffering, unable to grasp what God is doing, we must rely on the great things God has done in the past, both for us and for others - thus, polishing His monuments of faithfulness. Jim extends this metaphor in numerous helpful ways, discussing honestly and forthrightly the struggles of suffering saints, and giving compassionate, pastorly advice learned in the trenches of pain. He was a Bible and hermeneutics professor for a number of years, and his pastoral advice is deeply rooted in unshaken biblical principles.

Though the writing itself is not particularly spectacular, this story is one many Christians should read. The pageant of faithfulness played out on the pages - both God's faithfulness, and the family's faithfulness - is yet another monument to polish and remember.
The message in this book has far to great an impact to be missed.  Dec 23, 2007
When Jim Andrew's daughter, Juli, was in college, she contracted mononucleosis. Although they didn't realize it at the time, this would be the first in a cascade of baffling, debilitating medical problems.

In Polishing God's Monuments, the author writes honestly of his daughter's struggles and how it impacted the entire family. Alternating between chapters describing Juli's heartbreaking struggles and theology, the author helps us to understand the importance of relying on God even when the trials seem overwhelming.

This book is not a collection of platitudes. This is an honest look at true suffering, and all the emotions and feelings of hopelessness that it sometimes entails. Mr. Andrews and his family have endured unimaginable trials, but yet emerged with their faith intact. His careful handling and application of the Bible is a reflection of the kind of wisdom that comes when faith is thoroughly tested.

Why many will appreciate the author's colorful, country metaphors, I found them at times to be distracting. But the message in this book has far to great an impact to be missed. This book will be a great help to those in the midst of trials. I will probably be buying extra copies to give away.
A brillantly written major work  Sep 20, 2007
An excerpt from a letter by Shirley Dominik: I believe this book is a brilliantly-written major work that should be brought to the attention of everyone.

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