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Archive for the ‘Devotional books’ Category

Nancy Guthrie. Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter.  Wheaton, IL: Crossway, August 1st, 2008.  152 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

I’m typically not a fan of devotional books but after being impressed with the editor’s previous book titled Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas I actually looked forward to reading this book.  The editor Nancy Guthrie did an excellent job compiling great writings for Christian meditations concerning Christ’s death and the cross.

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crazy love

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

A good book that challenges the American church that’s deep in the American Dream (well, at least the Christian suburban version). Perhaps its due to the negative reviews I’ve read, but the book turned out better than I expected. It’s true–it might not be a theologically driven or as “deep” exegetically as some might want it–but it presents simple Biblical truths for the goal of application and this I appreciated. I appreciate Francis Chan’s call for Christians not to live lukewarm lives and the work did challenge me spiritually to evaluate my life and also why I do what I do. His chapter on the characteristic of the lukewarm Christian is a good list for a believer’s spiritual inventory. What I appreciate the most about Francis Chan, something I as a preacher want to work on, is his ability to illustrate Christian truths. These are always helpful to get the preacher’s mind churning to keep an eye out for one’s own original illustrations. The author hammers home that the Christian life is about God and not us by comparing us to a movie extra for a film waiting for that two-fifths of a second you can see the back of your head and getting so excited about it when no one else care–or really notice. He compares our love for God’s blessing over our love for God as a child who only wants what his or her parents can give–but not loving the parents. He even talks about wanting to join the Marines and saying how it would be irrational to join and not say you want to run when they own you–yet for us as Christians, we don’t understand the Lordship of Christ when we are saved. I do recommend this book as a devotional.

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I don’t know when this offer will end but Jerry Bridges’  “Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts” is available online for Kindle for a limited time!  Down load it now!  You can download it by clicking here.

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Usually, when I read a commentary for devotional purposes, I read the passage from the Bible first then I consult a commentary with an eye for additional insight or observation and point of application I might have missed. I usually weigh commentaries in that regard with what it brings out from the text. Schaffer brought out insights to things that I missed not only upon my first reading of the passage, but my previous reading of Joshua also as well. To that end, I thought this work was helpful. For instance, I did not noticed before that the memorial of the stones that Jacob commanded Israel to lay was on the Jordan itself from rocks that were on land and also rocks from the Jordan unto dry land in Joshua 4. This seemingly trivial point is explained by Schaeffer as being significant since the stones from the river (assuming it looks different) will stand out on dry land and vice versa as a memorial of God’s faithfulness when God once again parting water for Israel. Francis Schaeffer also had a good section on the Abrahamic covenant of God as the background to what was going on in Joshua in terms of receiving the promise land. It’s always beautiful seeing the flow of biblical theology being taken into account in interpreting a passage. The book also had a theologically rich chapter that focused on Joshua 8:30-35 on what Mount Ebal and Gerizim meant, where Schaeffer was able to use it to point to the gospel with the altar on Mount Ebal (the mountain of curses and judgment), of how this symbolizes that there is a need for the cleansing of sins. This commentary also answered a question I had for a while but neglected in finding the answer to. I’ve known before that the 12 tribes of Israel included two sons of Joseph which made me wonder how is it that there are 12 tribes instead of 13 if the tribes are from Jacob’s 12 sons. The math never added up to me until Schaeffer’s note from Genesis 49 that there is a prophecy that Simeon was to be without their own land. Over all, for a devotional flavor commentary, this work had good use of antecedent theology in interpreting the text, with Schaeffer using the Laws of Moses to make sense of what was going on in Joshua. Examples have already been cited above but added to this is the chapter on the city of Refuge, which must be understood in light of the directions and technicalities of Deuteronomy 4:41-43, Deuteronomy 19:1-13, Numbers 35:4-5 and 34:15-30. I also enjoyed the fact that Francis Schaeffer points out that when we look at the Bible, events took place in “time and space,” that is, in history. The ramification of that is huge: history is going somewhere. It is objectively meaningful. Of all people, Christians should be interested in the study of history since we know of God’s plan, promises and providence.

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Review

Worthwhile Christian devotional read. I think the book addresses mainly those who have their theology right in their intellect, but might not have that as something they embrace in their daily lives and devotion towards God. To that end, this book is a great call and challenge for believers to truly pursue God. Good call that Christianity is not just head knowledge for head knowledge sake. The question I did have was Tozer’s reference to prevenient grace, which I noticed mentioned at least twice in the book–was Tozer an Arminian or did he used this term in a way different than the traditional definition?

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If you must purchase a copy of the book, get it on Amazon here.

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

I’ve enjoyed this work by Spurgeon, a good devotional for the pastor and those in ministry. Exhorts the readers to be faithful to the Word of God.  May I also add that this might be a devotional book for the apologist as well, to put the work they do in perspective of the Great fight for the Faith.  This work at times seems so timely for our day and age despite the fact that the author is a Victorian era preacher.  As usual with Spurgeon, his personality with his humor and illustration comes through to the reader.  The work exhorts the readers to be faithful to the gospel and the Word of God.  Among the many illustrations, one that I like was how he talked about the need for learning and not being lazy, and that he once heard a pastor who was paid so little that Spurgeon talked to the church about how that salary was not fitting for a poor farmer to which the congregation replied that was already far more worth than what he does.  No minister or vocational apologist should have that be descriptive of them. Overall, encouraging work, and I am sure that it makes the readers wonder what would Spurgeon have sound like if he was alive today.

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