ZacGran 07-07-69

The Grand Weaver

How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives



Ravi Zacharias

Zondervan, 2007, 200 pp., ISBN 0-310-26952-6



Zacharias is an internationally known Christian apologist and writer.  


"To allow God to be God we must follow him for who he is and what he intends, and not for what we want or what we prefer.  This book is about seeing the designing hand of God and his intervention in our lives…. (11)


"I believe God intervenes in the lives of every one of us.  He speaks to us in different ways and at different times so that we may know he is the author of our very personality." (14) 


"In fact, I believe more matters to God in our lives than we normally pause to think about.  We may not fully understand his design as it takes shape, but we should not conclude that his design lacks a directing plan." (14)


"His design for your life pulls together every thread of your existence into a magnificent work of art.  Every thread matters and has a specific purpose." (17)



Your DNA Matters

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." I Corinthians 2:9.  "If this is true, then such awe-inspiring consolation reaches beyond the future to carry profound implications for the present." (22)


"How can you recognize that he has a purpose, even when all around seems senseless, if not hopeless?" (22)


"By his sovereign will, we have come into being with an expressed and designed purpose."  "His 'registration number' is on you."  "Every little feature and 'accident' of your personality matter.  Consider it God's sovereign imprint on you." (28)


"We can map out the human genome and in it see the evidence of a great Cartographer."  "We live, seeing the blueprint of life.  And we die, but we can look through the keyhole of life." (30)


"The day that each person willingly accepts himself or herself for who he or she is and acknowledges the uniqueness of God's framing process marks the beginning of a journey to seeing the handiwork of God in each life." (30)



Your Disappointments Matter

"The problem of pain has remained the single greatest question, not only for the skeptic who uses it as an excuse to doubt God's existence, but also for the believer who questions God's purpose." (35) 


"While pain is the universal leveler, it works differently in everyone's life.  It shapes us uniquely, sparing no one in the process." (35-6)


"The life-styles of the rich and famous are half-truths.  Yes, they live in grander houses, but inside they breathe the same sorrows and have the same longings." (37)


"If disappointment were a thief, it would be no respecter of persons." (37)


God makes appointments with us in our disappointments.  To see the pattern we must take three steps involving the heart, the mind, and the cross. 


"God is the shaper of your heart."  "God does not display his work in abstract terms.  He prefers the concrete, and this means that at the end of your life one of three things will happen to your heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken, or it will be tender.  Nobody escapes." (39-40) 


"God the Grand Weaver seeks those with tender hearts so that he can put his imprint on them.  Your hurts and your disappointments are part of that design, to shape your heart and the way you feel about reality.  The hurts you live through will always shape you.  There is no other way." (40)


"Only if you are willing to pray sincerely for God's will to be done and are willing to live the life apportioned to you will you see the breathtaking view of God that he wants you to have, through the windows he has placed in your life." (41)


"…having the answers is not essential to living.  What is essential is the sense of God's presence during dark seasons of questioning…." (42, quoting Calvin Miller)


"Walking by faith means to follow Someone else who knows more than we do, Someone who is also good." (43)


"If you do not have the mind of faith, then you will fall into repeated peril--and God will get the blame.  A life of simple trust is a blessed life, and it sees beyond any impediment through the mind committed to God's way." (45)


"We must see the world of pain through the eyes of Jesus, who best understands it not merely as pain but as brokenness and separation." (48)  "The love of God shows us that God alone bridges the distance between him and us, enabling us to see this world through Calvary." (49)


"The single most important thread in working through your disappointments is that your heart and mind ponder and grasp what the cross of Jesus Christ is all about."  "There is no pattern without the cross.  There is no Good News without it.  That is what the gospel is all about." (51)



Your Calling Matters

"Accomplishment and dream careers do not necessarily lead to happiness.  Making it to number one really means knowing where God wants you to be and serving him there with your best efforts.  The goal, then, is to find the threads God has in place for you and to follow his plan for you with excellence." (55)


"A calling is simply God's shaping of your burden and beckoning you to your service to him in the place and pursuit of his choosing.  Finding your home in your service to Christ is key to noticing the threads designed just for you."  "When your will becomes aligned with God's will, his calling upon you has found its home." (58-59)


One often sees a call only in retrospect.  This too is God's design. "God often reinforces our faith after we trust him, not before." (60-1) 


"Every calling that honors God's purpose for life in general is a sacred call." (64)


"Our devotion to God's call and to his claim on our lives provides the groundwork of all that ultimately matters." (66)


"I do not believe that one can earnestly seek and find the priceless treasure of God's call without a devout prayer life." "That is where God speaks.  The purpose of prayer and of God's call in your life is not to make you number one in the world's eyes, but to make him number one in your life." (70-1) We must be willing to be outshone while shining for God.  "We hear very little about being smaller in our own self-estimate." (71)


To know God's call stay close to those who walk closely with God. (73)  Seek the counsel of godly men and women.  Exhibit a commitment to the preeminence of Christ in all things.  These are components of a call.  (74)



Your Morality Matters

"The Christian faith, simply stated, reminds us that our fundamental problem is not moral: rather, our fundamental problem is spiritual.  It is not just that we are immoral, but that a moral life alone cannot bridge what separated us from God."  "Jesus does not offer to make bad people good but to make dead people alive." (82) 


"Any life that does not see its need for redemption will not understand the truth about morality." (84) 


"Pure morality points you to the purest one of all.  When impure, it points you to yourself.  The purer your habits, the closer to God you will come.  Moralizing from impure motives takes you away from God."  (90)



Your Spirituality Matters

"Changes in language often reflect the changing values of a culture.  Whether something is politically correct or culturally unacceptable depends on who is in political control and which culture enjoys favored status with the media." (93)


There is a twofold reality.  "First, we human beings are incurable religious.  We long to worship and will even create our own objects of worship."  "Second, it is imperative that we know whether the object we worship truly deserves our worship and actually has the characteristics we ascribe to it." (95)  "Our age-old quest for the spiritual is incurable." (96)


"Spiritual seduction is the deadliest of all seductions because it barters away the soul."  (104)


"How does one find the right threads to bring about the perfect design?  By far, the most important thread is truth--and yet the death of truth has been the single greatest casualty of our time." (104)  "The tragedy is that when truth dies, people are sacrificed at the altar of pragmatism and manipulated by words in the human game of one-upsmanship." (106)


"Without truth, spirituality is nothing more than a confession that sheer matter alone does not answer life's deepest hungers."   (106)


"How does one find the thread of truth?  By looking at the One who claimed to be the Truth--Jesus Christ." (106)  "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37)


"Truth is the thread that separates true spirituality from false spirituality."  "Your spirituality must be born of the truth lived out in grace." (109)



Your Will Matters

"The will is a strong but fragile part of every human life, and it matters in the rich weaving of your tapestry that is in the making." (114)


"When God brings us to salvation, the most remarkable thing we see is that he transforms our hungers.  He changes not just what we do but what we want to do." (114)


"Certain keys to the will can unlock the huge potential God has placed within human power.  Rightly understood, it yields humility; wrongly understood, it yields arrogance." (115)


"…making a choice to follow God entails one nonnegotiable commitment: to recognize the mission of your life not so much as a profession but as a measuring stick by which you will gauge your progress for life itself.  Out of this emerges a commitment that your life express total submission to God's will." (117)


"…too often we put all our energies into the peripheral concerns of life and forget why we are here."  Write down your purpose.  "Mark down your life's goal, which will then provide you with the measuring stick you need to determine whether attractions and distractions are legitimate or illegitimate." (118)  "Set your purpose clearly before you." (119) 


"The ABCDs of a willful walk with the Lord:

       Ask without pettiness

       Being before doing

       Convictions without compromise

       Discipline without dreariness" (123)


Warning: "the more one surrenders convictions and neglects discipline, the more one gradually changes one's own hungers and desires." (127-28)



Your Worship Matters

Here is life's essential purpose--to worship God in spirit and in truth (see John 4:24).  All other purposes are meant to be secondary.  When they become primary, they destroy the individual." (132)


"This thread of worship binds together all the rest of the threads in the design of our lives.  We cannot see the pattern if this thread goes missing.  If this thread breaks, the whole design falls apart." (132)


"Worship is exclusionary.  You cannot compromise on worship." (133)


"Worship is ultimately 'seeing life God's way.'" (133)


Five main components of worship from the book of Acts:  the Lord's Supper, teaching, prayer, praise, and giving. (140) 


Praise.  "Somewhere, somehow, we have been led to believe that music is the centerpiece of worship.  It isn't.  It is included in 'praise,' one of five expressions of worship."  "Is it possible to be so swept up by the music and the art of worship that we lose the message and the guidelines on how to worship?  Teaching must become the center of worship again, and the ideas that shape our expressions must be biblically induced and shaped."  (145-46)


"If you do not believe that the situation today has become precarious, stop and ask a young person in your church to take a Bible and show you from Scripture the path of salvation.  Ask the same person to name the top choruses or songs, however, and he or she probably will feel very comfortable doing so." (146)


Prayer.  "In our understanding of prayer, I fear we take one finger of it and think we have the whole fist." (146)  "More than anything else, prayer enables you to see your own heart and brings you into alignment with God's heart."  "…it is a dialogue through which God fashions your heart and makes his dream of you a reality."  (147)


Giving.  "To consume the best for yourself and give the crumbs to God is blasphemy."  "A heart that truly worships God gives generously to the causes of God--causes that God cares deeply about.  I have to wonder whether someday we may wake up to discover that all our incestuous spending on ourselves and our frantic construction of excessively luxurious places of worship--even as we ignore, for the most part, the hurting and the deprived of the world--filled God's heart with pain."  "Spending more and more on ourselves and giving less and less to the world in need may be the very reason few take our mission seriously." (149)


Your Destiny Matters

"When we think of destiny, however, we make a mistake in thinking only of death or what happens after death.  Destiny involves much more than this.  It is the culmination of all that life was, including how that person prepares for death, whether it comes soon or after several years.  Destiny incorporates the sense of purpose and design when it lies in the hands of a sovereign God." (155)


"This simple description of being at home with God (John 13:2-4) is the ultimate destiny of the follower of Jesus Christ." (156) 


"His design for you is the best thing he has for you.  Let God hold the threads so that you will someday see the beauty and the marvel he had in mind when he created you."  (173)


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