Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Devotional’ 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.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

books

For Christians its important to read.  To read the Bible. To read books on the Bible.  To read books that would help with Christian living.  To read books to know more about God.  Many Christians get this.  Many Christians might feel guilty.  Sometimes one’s life is also very busy.  How does one read more books when life is busy?  This post is meant to be pastoral, practical and encouraging.  I admit I haven’t arrived so if you have other ideas and advice please share.  So here’s my thoughts.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

dorcas

Serving Others and the Resurrection

 

Read Acts 2:36-43

 

Have you ever met someone in your church who was a huge servant?  They did everything out of selfless love and generosity.  They did it to serve the LORD.  Ultimately it was for an audience of One.  They were very humble about their ministry.  Yet everyone knew about their service to the Lord despite how they quietly served.  Sometimes one only find out the extent of their service to the church after they had passed away.  So when such a servant depart, it is a great loss to the church.  Yet they also leave behind a great example of service to the Lord.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

This book was one that was on sale at Shepherd’s Conference (Inerrancy Summit).

God Battle plan for the mind david saxton

 David Saxton. God’s Battle Plan for the Mind.  Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015. 144 pp.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and believed that it was God’s providence that I read this book at the time I was reading it since lately I have been thinking a lot about Christian devotions and prayers.  It truly ministered to my soul.

The subject of the book is on biblical meditation.  The author David Saxton correctly note that this is a loss discipline today among most Western Christians and it doesn’t help that the term “meditation” often invoke unbiblical form of meditation that is more in line with Eastern religion and mysticism than the Bible.  Thus the first two chapters argued for the importance of biblical meditation and also note incorrect forms of meditation.  True biblical meditation involves thinking about God’s spiritual truth from the Scripture rather than the emptying of the mind or looking within oneself.  Since some of the contemporary Christian meditation strategies are not necessarily biblical the book looks at the Scripture in constructing meditation that would please God while also looking at the rich insight that the Puritans had on this important Christian discipline.  Chapter three is a wonderful chapter that defined biblical meditation and providing the biblical support for this.  I appreciate the lexical word studies the author went through as well.

Both the author and the Puritans that the author quoted in the book had very good illustrations on the importance of Christian meditation.  For instance we read that “a godly person does not just snack occasionally on God’s truth; rather, the Word is his heart delight and hourly consideration” (2).  Constantly throughout the book meditation was compared to chewing food and the habit of studying the Bible and not meditating was compared to tasting food but not swallowing it.  We also see the illustration that it is important to let the Word of God soak your life thoroughly similar to letting a teabag sit in hot water long enough and not merely letting the tea bag that dip a bit into the water (10).

Another helpful part of the book is how the author explored the different kinds of categories of meditation that the Puritans understood.  First was the distinction between deliberate and occasional meditation in which the former was planned while the later was more spontaneous.  The Puritans noted that both had their place but also warned about the danger of only having occasional meditation since it run the risk of being subjective and not as systematic in one’s spiritual feeding through the whole counsel of God’s Word.  Deliberate meditation was further divided into two types with direct meditation focusing on understanding what the Scripture has to say about a given topic while reflexive meditation was more on what the application look like in one’s life.

I appreciated how practical both the book and the Puritans were on the subject of meditation.  Many times in the book the author emphasized that the purpose of meditation is to apply spiritual truths and not merely engage intellectually with Scripture.  I like that as I’m sure it will help many believers who like me can struggle with things being intellectual.  The book also covered various practical steps involved in meditation such as consideration of important occasions for meditation, selecting the subject of meditation and getting started with meditation.  While some might not like how the Puritans provided “steps” to one’s meditation the author does make a powerful argument from his analogy of how the lack of a step by step approach can be frustrating for those unfamiliar with this spiritual discipline of meditation in the same way the author found it frustrating when his GPS broke down while he was trying to travel from Rome to Pompeii (59-60).  The author insightfully points out that the Puritans were practical without being rigidly bound to unnecessary rules.  For instance, the Puritans talked a lot about what time of day one should engage in Christian meditation (morning or night) and while many have their reasons for their preferences they also saw Christian liberty on the timing of the duty of meditation and their writing portray sensitivity by taking into account individuals’ temperament (are they a night person or a morning person, etc).  Since the goal of meditation is to connect with God the duration of one’s meditation was also covered by the Puritans.  The author has a wonderful point when he said that meditation should be like eating a several course meal with someone rather than wolfing down fast food on the free way (57).  The duration should be however long until one connects with the Lord and are lead to apply God’s truth.  The book was also helpful in reminding the readers that Christians sin in specific ways so believers too must meditate on passages that address specific sinful habits.  There were so many helpful tips in the book that one must read it to gain from it!

I highly recommend this book.   Read it to start one’s spiritual meditations today.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher Reformation Heritage Books through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion. The thoughts and words are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.

Read Full Post »

The Gospel According to Daniel Chapell

To purchase the book on Amazon, Click HERE

The introduction to this commentary makes it clear that the author is not trying to give an exegetically detailed commentary on the book of Daniel; rather the purpose of the book is to show how the book of Daniel points us to the Gospel and then to apply Gospel truths that is found in Daniel to our lives.  To this end, I think the author accomplished his stated purpose.

My first knowledge of the author Byran Chapell was from his book on preaching that was the textbook for an introductory course to preaching when I began seminary; that particular work helped me a lot in laying the foundation to become an expository preacher.  It was with great expectation that I picked up this book wanting to learn and see how Bryan Chapell would preach through the book of Daniel.

I appreciated the many stories that the author shared throughout the book; they were wonderful examples of how preachers should “illustrate to apply” to the listeners’ lives.  I appreciated seeing how Chapell avoided making Daniel the object of our hero worship but instead points us towards God, Jesus and the Gospel.  One highlight reading this commentary is the discussion on Daniel chapter three about what true faith means.  Here Chapell also points out to the reader that just because one has faith does not mean that everything will go all well in life without trials and tribulation.  This directly contradicts the “health and wealth” gospel and similar beliefs popular in some Christian circles.  At the same time, for those who are in biblical churches the discussion would nevertheless be quite encouraging since it put our suffering in perspective.

There were times I wished that the author could have gone more in-depth with the exposition of the passage especially with the latter part of the book of Daniel.  I must add that this is a gentle criticism because one must applaud the author for his honesty in admitting what he does not know or don’t want to be dogmatic with.

Both exegetes and lay readers will benefit from this commentary; this book serves as a great devotional read while for expository preachers this commentary will balance out some of the more technical commentaries to help the preacher thinking about how to deliver and apply the text.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Baker Books and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

Read Full Post »

apologist john whitcomb

By DR. JOHN C. WHITCOMB
President, Whitcomb Ministries, Inc.

 

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead with a glorified body is a foundational truth of the New Testament. In fact, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Cor. 15:17-19).

 

But how can we be absolutely sure that He rose from the dead three days after He died on the cross for our sins? Even one of the 12 apostles denied His resurrection: “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Eight days later, Thomas saw Him in the upper room, and exclaimed: “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28).

 

But how can we say what doubting Thomas finally confessed if we have not seen Christ as Thomas did? Our Lord gave the answer to him and to all men everywhere: “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (v. 29).

 

This is an amazing statement! How can we believe in something so stupendous about someone who we have not seen? The answer may come as a surprise even to many Christians. It is the same dynamic by which we can know how the world was created by God a few thousand years ago – not billions of years ago by chance through evolution. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen [i.e., sun, moon, stars, plants, animals and people] were not made of things which are visible” (Heb. 11:3).

 

Many people who believe in supernatural creation by an Intelligent Designer would question this. They are convinced that the theory of evolution has been disproven by the Second Law of Thermodynamics – which teaches that everything in the universe is deteriorating in quality – and by the obvious irreducible complexity of all living things. Therefore, they say, we do not need to accept creation “by faith.” (See John C. Whitcomb, Jesus Christ: Our Intelligent Designer [Waxhaw, NC: Kainos Books, 2012].)

 

But this involves a profound misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches. We are not told to take by faith what anyone says – but only what God has said. That is why “faith [in what He has said] is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1).

 

How do we know for sure that God is speaking to us? The first chapter of the Bible provides the answer: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’” (Gen. 1:26). Human beings are infinitely different from animals. We have a mind, a soul/spirit and a conscience. We have a unique capacity among all living beings on this Earth to hear God speak to us. “Gentiles… show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them” (Rom. 2:14, 15). When God spoke to our first parents, they did not say, “Who are you?” (See Rom. 1:18-23.)

 

One of the special ministries of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the triune Godhead, is to illumine our minds concerning divine realities. The Lord Jesus said of Him, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26). Furthermore, “He will convict the world… of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more” (16:8, 10). And, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (16:13).

 

That is how some Greek politicians in Athens, hearing the preaching of Paul, were able to believe in the resurrection of Christ, likely without ever having been to the land of Israel – more than 500 miles away. “When they heard of the resurrection of the dead… some men joined him and believed” (Acts 17:32, 34).

 

Friend, do you believe that “Christ died for our sins… and that He rose again” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4)? Through the inspired words of the Bible, we are told that He was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom.1:4).

 

Do not wait until you see Him – like doubting Thomas. Believe in Him now – because your God, who created you, has told you to!

 

May every Christian in the world today trust the Holy Spirit to make us effective light reflectors for the resurrected and glorified Christ until He comes again.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Whitcomb Ministries, Inc.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

 

Dr. John C. Whitcomb is heard weekly as the Bible teacher on Encounter God’s Truth, a radio and Internet broadcast outreach of Whitcomb Ministries, Inc. He has been a professor of Old Testament and theology for more than 60 years and is widely recognized as a leading Biblical scholar. The book he coauthored with the late Dr. Henry Morris in 1961, The Genesis Flood, has been credited as one of the major catalysts for the modern Biblical creationism movement. Dr. Whitcomb’s broadcasts, sermons, lectures and writings are available at SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. To receive the very latest on his ministry, like Facebook.com/WhitcombMinistries or myWorldview.com/WhitcombMinistries.

 

Read Full Post »

apologist john whitcomb

John Whitcomb is a prolific Christian teacher, apologist and former Old Testament Professor whose materials and resources we have shared in the past on our blog.  In light of the holiday season he has several Christmas devotionals related to Christ’s birth.  Below is one of them that his ministry has allowed us to post on our page.

Sermons by the Greatest ‘Christmas Prophet’

By DR. JOHN C. WHITCOMB
President, Whitcomb Ministries, Inc.

The prophet Isaiah was surely the greatest “Christmas Prophet” of the Old Testament. Let us briefly consider two of his most famous Christmas sermons.

Isaiah Chapter 7

One of the great marvels surrounding Jesus’ birth was the fact of His virgin conception.

But how could a virgin be with child and bear a son? Luke explains: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary], and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Was this impossible? No, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

Not only was it not impossible, it was predicted 700 years before by Isaiah. He received the message that Christ, the Messiah, would be one Person with two natures – divine and human.

At a time of great crisis for Israel, the house of David was given a great promise. “Then he said, ‘Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son [i.e., fully human], and shall call His name Immanuel [i.e., “God with us,” fully divine]’” (Isa. 7:13, 14). In the very next chapter, the prophet is told that the God of Israel is “Immanuel” (Isa. 8:8; cf. v. 10).

Notice that God told Israel that He would give them a great sign. The coming of the Messiah/Christ would be so great that “the depth” of Sheol or “the height” of heaven could not compare (Isa. 7:11.)! That is a measure of God’s love for the world.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is called Immanuel. What does that mean? It means that Jesus is not merely a man – He is also God. Otherwise, He could not have paid for all of our sins on the cross. What a Person, and what a gift!

Without Immanuel, Israel could never have survived. To all of her enemies, God said:

“Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
Speak the word, but it will not stand,
For God is with us [Hebrew, “Immanuel”]” (Isa. 8:10).

That is still true for Israel today.

Sadly, Ahaz, the ancient king of Israel, refused to believe in Immanuel, the Savior. And when He finally came, the vast majority of Jews rejected Him – and still do. But someday soon, thank God, the nation of Israel will acknowledge Him, and will “be grafted into their own olive tree” (Rom. 11:24) of divine blessing. God is merciful!

Isaiah Chapter 9

The dual nature of our Savior was also revealed to Isaiah in Isaiah 9:6:

“For unto us a Child is born [i.e., human nature],
Unto us a Son is given [i.e., divine nature];
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Where would Jesus, the Light of the world, perform His first miracle? “In Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isa. 9:1; cf. John 2:11) – despised by Judean Jews! Thus, Nathaniel asked Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). But Isaiah had long since written:

‘The people who walked in darkness [i.e., Galileans]
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined” (Isa. 9:2).

Who was this great Light?

“Unto us a Child is born [His true human nature],
Unto us a Son is given [His divine nature]” (Isa. 9:6).

The Second Person of the eternal Godhead – Who added a sinless human nature to His divine nature – is now and forever one Person with two distinct natures, in order that He, Jesus Christ, might be able to die for our sins.

Does Christ truly possess the qualities that would be essential to be our Savior? God, the Holy Spirit, who is the ultimate author of the Bible (cf. 2 Pet. 1:21), lists His qualifications:

“And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father [see Isa. 63:16], Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).

What more could sinful humanity ask for?

The Lord Jesus is not only our Savior, He is also our coming King. Yes,

‘The government [of the entire world] will be upon His shoulder” (Isa. 9:6).

He will rule the world all by Himself? Yes!

“For the LORD is our Judge [i.e., Supreme Court],
The LORD is our Lawgiver [i.e., Congress],
The LORD is our King [i.e., executive branch];
He will save us” (Isa. 33:22).

When our Savior becomes our King, He will be so forever!

“Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end” (Isa. 9:7a).

For He will,

“Order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever” (Isa. 9:7b).

But how can this occur? May all mankind hear the answer:

“The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:7c).

Merry Christmas! May you be blessed this day by the hearing of the great “Christmas Prophet.” He reminds us that, indeed, God’s Word is true from the beginning to the end.

Copyright © 2013 by Whitcomb Ministries, Inc.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Us

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »