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The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd (Swans Are Not Silent) [Paperback]

By john piper (Author)
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Item description for The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd (Swans Are Not Silent) by john piper...

John Piper escorts you through the difficult lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd to discover how God takes the privilege of faith and strengthens it with trials so that you experience a greater hunger for him. Part of the Swans Are Not Silent series.

Publishers Description

Bunyan - Cowper - Brainerd

John Bunyan suffered long-term imprisonment, even when a simple promise to cease preaching would have freed him, and he was moved to rely on God even more... Despite month after month of debilitating depression, William Cowper's poetry reflected the sustaining character of God and led him to worship more deeply... David Brainerd so desired to honor God that through the loneliness of wilderness ministry and the agony of tuberculosis, he pressed on, transforming world missions forever.

When Augustine handed over the leadership of his church in A.D. 426, his successor was so overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy that he declared, "The swan is silent," fearing the spiritual giant's voice would be lost in time. But for 1,600 years Augustine has not been silent-and neither have the men who faithfully trumpeted the cause of Christ after him. Their lives have inspired every generation of believers and should compel us to a greater passion for God.

In this noteworthy Swans Are Not Silent book, John Piper invites you into the lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd to discover how God takes the privilege of faith and strengthens it with trials so that we experience a greater hunger for him. The perseverance of these godly servants exemplifies the essential fruit that affliction can produce in your own life. Their enduring faith will fortify you in your suffering, reminding you that "behind a frowning providence, God hides a smiling face." And their stories and witness will inspire in you a similar passion for the supremacy of God in your life.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   175
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.34" Height: 0.47"
Weight:   0.54 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2008
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
Series  Swans Are Not Silent  
ISBN  1433501899  
ISBN13  9781433501890  

Availability  0 units.

More About john piper

John Piper John Piper, the preaching pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis since 1980, is the author of numerous books" "and a senior writer for "World "magazine,"" He received his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich and taught biblical studies for six years at Bethel College, St. Paul, before becoming a pastor. He and his wife, Noel, have four sons and one daughter.

SPANISH BIO: John Piper es pastor de Bethlehem Baptist Church, en Mineapolis. Sus muchos libros incluyen: Cuando no deseo a Dios, No desperdicies tu vida, Lo que Jesus exige del mundo.

John Piper currently resides in Minneapolis, in the state of Minnesota. John Piper was born in 1946.

John Piper has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Coleccion Teologica Contemporanea: Estudios Ministeriales
  2. Essential Edwards Collection
  3. John Piper Small Group
  4. Lifechange Books
  5. Swans Are Not Silent

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2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious

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Books > Inspiration > Motivation > Biography & Autobiography
Books > Inspiration > Motivation > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Hidden Smile Of God (Swans Are Not Silent V2)?

Three Suffering Swans  Nov 26, 2007
This is the second book in the series The Swans are Not Silent. Like the other books in the series, it contains three of Piper's biographical sermons on historical Christians. In this case, those featured are John Bunyan, William Cowper and David Brainerd, three men who endured great suffering during their lives, and whose suffering bore fruit, both in their own times and onward through history to the present day. Piper's purpose in telling the stories of these men's lives and expounding on them is so that the story of "how they suffered, how they endured, and how it bore fruit will inspire in [the reader] that same radical Christian life, God-centered worship, and Christ-exalting mission."

The first section is on the life of John Bunyan, best known for writing The Pilgrim's Progress, one of the best-selling books of all times, although he wrote at least fifty-seven other books. Bunyan was a "brasyer", a tinker who became a nonconformist preacher. He suffered in many ways throughout his life, including spending 12 years in jail away from his wife and children for refusing to stop preaching. Bunyan's imprisonment drove him to God's word, and developed in him a keen sense of the presence of Christ. Hie suffering and what he wrote about suffering in the life of the Christian can teach us much about following Christ in difficult times.

Next up is William Cowper, who suffered from from depression and insanity, and yet left behind marvelous hymns of God's goodness that we still sing two hundred years later. He is proof of the truth of one of his most famous hymns, God Moves in a Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform.

And then there's David Brainerd. Brainerd was a young missionary to the Indians in the 1700s who died at aged 29 of tuberculosis, following several years of illness. We remember him because of his journal, which has inspired many others to missionary service, including William Carey and Jim Elliot.

The lives of these three men, Piper says, are like pebbles dropped into a pond: "God has breathed on the waters and made their ripple into waves. And now the parched places of our lives are watered with the memories of sustaining grace."

This is a wonderfully inspirational book. It's not a long book, and I expected to finish it in a snap, but things didn't work out that way because of the richness of the stories. Don't take this to mean that The Hidden Smile of God is a difficult book. I'd call it an easy read, but one worth pondering as it's read.
God's provision through suffering  Oct 10, 2007
This book is a great encouragement, especially for any depressed or discouraged Christian. It's good to be reminded that God causes all things to work together for good for those that love Him... and that He can work through us, even through depression. "Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! What a Friend"
Yes, They Carried Their Crosses Well  Sep 24, 2007
In the second part of Piper's eulogies to great men of the Faith, in 'The Swans Are Not Silent' series, we get to meet Bunyan, Cowper (pronounced Cooper) and Brainerd.

The introduction to the book brings us to an important theological aspect in the Christian life: the fruit of affliction. It is by these means of trials and tests, that God shapes the character of the lives of men and women, who lay claim to being Christ's. The cost of discipleship is ravaging, demanding, painful and yet, brings much glory to God, only if we continue to see His good in our circumstances.

Of this school, John Bunyan was an unchallenged leader. Most probably the most famous of Puritan preachers and pastors, the Bedford tinker grew in stature and favor with the English folk, which extends right to this day. Those that say Bunyan only had to agree to not preaching without a licence, at no other cost was his gaol term enforced, fail to know those days. As Piper explains, they were the Non-Conformists, who refused to bow the knee to the Church of England with her popish traditions and catholic conventions. If you read Bunyan's sermons, you will readily see the sort of principle he disagreed with. For example, that they had a Common Prayer Book, and for every circumstance, Holy Day, or gathering, they were required to pray from it word-for-word. NO! says Bunyan, for 'I will pray by the Spirit and by my understanding!' 1 Cor 14:15

What really touched my heart was that Bunyan confessed he loved his oldest daughter most. Born blind from birth, she was his weak spot. During the twelve years imprisonment when she had occasion to visit with his second wife, he claims that it was extremely hard to part with her. A fathers heart! If ever he needed an excuse to conform and be released from prison, she was there. Yet God graciously supplied in His means of grace to Bunyan.

Quote: 'Let me beg of thee, that thou wilt not be offended either with God, or men, if the cross is laid heavy upon thee. Not with God, for He doth nothing without a cause, nor with men, for...they are the servants of God to thee for good. Take therefore what comes to thee from God by them, thankfully.'

It were as if Bunyan saw Christ in his tormentors, and heard Christ plead with him to transfer their guilt, their actions, onto Christ, and thus be free to love them.

Bunyan is with reason well-loved.

Cowper was a hymnist and could rise above his melancholy to deliver the most beautiful odes of praise to God. Suffering from depression, he regularly had to keep the foes of darkness at bay, and dug deeply from the wells of grace to bring forth his fruit, much of which is still well-known and in use today.

Brainerd was made public by Jonathan Edwards, the great American theologian. Brainerd was a missionary who lived in the most depriving of conditions amongst the Indians he was doing missionary work to. He also had ailments and was ill for most of the time, yet continued to thank God for every breath and word he was able to bring. God sustained him and then He mercifully took him away, at a relatively young age. Missionaries who are pitted against tests, deaths of various kinds, always refer to Brainerd's work for exhortation.

This is a remarkable book in the sense that these men were principled and knew not the easy way out. They continued to live out their witness, knowing that it was the Holy Spirit at work in their life's calling, despite the odds being stacked against them. So in good times and tough, God was sovereignly ruling in their lives.

Solemn and awe-inspiring.

One of my favorite books  Jul 26, 2007
If you are reading this, you really need to read this book. Have you suffered affliction? There is JOY in this book. As I read about David Brainerd, I couldn't help praying "Lord change me." There is a sense of healing in this book as God really undertands our suffering and loves us.This book left the image in my mind of David Brainerd riding his horse in the rain through the woods, throwing up blood from TB in a mission to share the gospel to the Indians. He was rejected by the seminary. There was nothing easy about his life. This is a book to read over and over. It will bring healing and joy to you in your affliction.
Challenging and encouraging - great read!  Apr 24, 2007
The second of Piper's The Swans are Not Silent series, this book was the most difficult to read because of the subject it dealt with - suffering. Piper selected three great men of the faith, known for their devotion to the Lord and their godly walk and let the reader peak behind the curtains of their lives - and the suffering, depression, attempted suicide and struggles of these three men was very distressing. Yet, even as Bunyan face his twelve years in prison for preaching the gospel, he saw his struggles actually ordained and orchestrated by God for His own glory; a view that both Cowper and Brainerd shared regarding their own hardships and turmoil.

In a country where suffering is avoided at all costs and seen by many as spiritual weakness, the lives of Bunyan, Cowper and Brainerd shout a different story about the sovereign hand of God in the lives of His children. 1 Peter chapter 4 tells us that we should not consider suffering strange, but rather as a sign that the Lord truly is in control and that He is working out our salvation for His own glory through our hardships. Looking back at the lives of these three saints, it is easy to see how God has been glorified in their struggles - from the writings of Bunyan to the poems and hymns of Cowper to the effectual call to ministry that the life of Brainerd has had on hundreds if not thousands who followed him. While these three struggled greatly, many have tasted the fruit of eternal peace from their hardships.

All four books of this series are outstanding - highly recommended for all Christians to read. Piper introduces us to some great men of the faith and challenges us with their lives to walk in a manner worthy of our calling as those who went before us have done.

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