Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon (Book Review)

 

So I started this well-known devotional about a year ago and honestly, I find it to be the best devotional that I have ever read. Much better than those currently on the market. 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, while he is rendered “The Prince of Preachers”, he is also a fantastic writer. His words are soul stirring and uplifting all at once while remaining true to Scripture. Moreover, Spurgeon kept things Gospel-Centric, making sure that one would continue to look unto Jesus. Each day is a twofold devotional – hence the title name. What I like about it is that it keeps the reader consistent with the book while meditating on what was read for that particular day. 

But in fact, Morning and Evening initially consisted of two separate works before being put together. Morning by morning was published in 1865 and followed by Evening by Evening in 1868. According to the ministry Truth For Life, Pastor Alistair Begg updated the devotional into modern English as well as using the ESV on the Bible verses instead of the original KJV.

I cannot even begin to explain as to how much this devotional has blessed me. Sometimes a post would even bring me to tears because it would be exactly what I needed to hear. No entry is monotonous, meaning each entry has something different to offer. Some are more encouraging while others more convicting. It is never sugarcoated, watered down, nor cheesy. In short, Spurgeon pulled no punches!

In closing, Morning and Evening is a MUST-have for Christians. I believe that it would deepen one’s walk with the Lord as it has for so many over the years. I am thankful to God for using Charles Spurgeon to bless the Body of Christ with his devotional.

Rating : 5/5

The Sovereignty of God by A.W Pink (Book Review)

Sovereignty Of God: Arthur W Pink: 9780882704241: Amazon.com: Books

Published in 1918, reformed pastor A.W Pink (1886-1952) explores the neglected, controversial, yet essential topic on the sovereignty of God. I have heard about this book countless times as a classic in theology and up until recently I got to read it.  So here is my review of  The Sovereignty of God.

Pink explores different areas in which the sovereignty of God applies such as creation, providence, and redemption. One of the most noteworthy topics in the book is the doctrine of election and addressing free will. The doctrine of election and free will has been a long debated topic throughout the history of the church in which Pink addresses in his book.

As the author is reformed, the book takes a Calvinistic approach to the Sovereignty of God in both matters. So perhaps you as the reader might not agree with his theological stance. Just as God’s Sovereignty is taken into account in the book, the responsibility of man is also highlighted.

The book closes out with a chapter as to how the Sovereignty of God applies to our lives. I definitely appreciate this as most Christians think that theological matters have no practical bearing, when in fact, it does! The Sovereignty of God is a solid read all around. I appreciate Pink’s use of Scripture which makes the book function like a Bible study, not just a theological treatise. Again, some may not agree with the theological stance that is promoted in the book. But concerning the topic of Sovereignty of God, this book is a good place to start.

I definitely enjoyed it as a book that many consider to be a classic. It is easily accessible online as you can download it for free. So definitely check it out!

5 out of 5 stars

“The Sovereignty of God is an expression that once was generally understood. It was a phrase commonly used in religious literature. It was a theme frequently expounded in the pulpit. It was a truth which brought comfort to many hearts, and gave virility and stability to Christian character. But, today, to make mention of God’s sovereignty is, in many quarters, to speak in an unknown tongue. Were we to announce from the average pulpit that the subject of our discourse would be the sovereignty of God, it would sound very much as though we had borrowed a phrase from one of the dead languages. Alas! that it should be so. Alas! that the doctrine which is the key to history, the interpreter of Providence, the warp and woof of Scripture, and the foundation of Christian theology, should be so sadly neglected and so little understood.” – A.W Pink

Remembering J.I Packer (1926-2020) and Knowing God

James Inell Packer, best known as J.I Packer, has gone home to be with the Lord on Friday. He was 93, just 5 days shy of his 94th birthday. The British-born Canadian theologian will be remembered by many as one of the most influential evangelicals of our time and rightly so.

Packer’s contribution to the body of Christ was tremendous. He has served as a theology professor, author, and speaker. Packer was also the general editor for the English Standard Bible (ESV), theological editor for the ESV study Bible, and an executive editor and writer for Christianity Magazine, just to name a few. 

Packer has authored several well-known books including Fundamentalism and the Word of God , as well as Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Packer was also notably influenced by the Puritans, in whom Packer highlights in his book A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life

But the book that J.I Packer is best known for is his highly acclaimed work, Knowing God. It is a book that many Christians have read and is often recommended as a book that every Christian should read. 

Knowing God Kindle Edition

For those who have never read Knowing God, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is a book that touches on the attributes of God. I believe every Christian needs to learn the attributes of God. For how can they profess to know, love, and serve God without any knowledge of Him whatsoever? Feelings and thoughts alone won’t suffice. A clear-cut understanding is required. 

And what better way to learn than through God’s Word, which helps us understand that we serve a sovereign, merciful, loving, just, holy, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God? Packer dives into these attributes and more in his book. Why is this important? As Packer says in his book, “Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God Himself better”

To date, Knowing God has sold well over a million copies. It was originally as a series of articles for Evangelical Magazine. When Packer published the book in 1973, he had no idea that it would have the impact that it did in years to come. 

“When I sent the manuscript of Knowing God to the publisher just over twenty years ago, I thought of it as a study book that could hardly be of general interest. I thought of it as a study book that could hardly be of general interest. I was wrong. It has sold over a million copies; it has gone into more than a dozen languages; it has become a nurture book for the Christian world.”- Packer said in a 1993 Preface to Knowing God.

According to Christianity magazine, “Knowing God” came in 5th in their list of  “The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals”. I’m sure, for some people, it would be 1st. But it is definitely one of the best books to ever come out in our lifetime. Not many Christian books today can make that claim for they are far from being preoccupied with the character of God. Oftentimes, they are more man-centered than God centered. Sad but true. 

Such a book like Knowing God is essential in growing in one’s walk of faith. Read it alongside the Bible to reap its full benefits. This is what theology is all about. More than just terminologies and concepts, but growing in the reality of coming to know the living God! There are far too many distractions and misconceptions today that try to vie for our attention.

May the church get back to knowing God as He really is so that they would make Him known. Not the watered down God in modern Christianity. But the one true God!

As for J.I Packer, he is now living that reality in its fullest, RIP.

 

New Apostolic Reformation terminology. —

Here is the latest article from one of our favourite polemicists, our good friend Rick Becker from the ‘Famine In The Land’ blog. Rick has compiled an extensive list of ‘buzzwords’ originating ‘in the minds of the false apostles and prophets’ that drive the New Apostolic Reformation. Rick Becker writes: The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) […]

via Resource: A glossary of New Apostolic Reformation terminology. —

I Am Statements (Part 3)- I Am The Door

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep”. – John 10:7

In the third “I am” statement of Christ, we again affirm Jesus making a claim to deity, which is essential for making the statement to begin with. As it is divine, it is authoritative and exclusive. And in this case, we will recognize Christ’s exclusivity regarding salvation as we will also see in a later “I am” statement (John 14:6)

In this case here, he uses the imagery of a door and not just any door, but “The door”, highlighted with the definite article, “the”, making it exclusive. This isn’t like any other door, hence there’s no alternatives. Jesus is in a league all on His own and He is making that known to us, “the sheep”. 

Who are the sheep? Why? God’s people of course. The church. It is not the goats, as they don’t know The Shepherd nor have they walked through the door. Instead they enter the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it by many” (Matt. 7:13).

Those entering the narrow way aren’t the sheep in God’s fold, for they chose to go by different doors rather than the door, which is the narrow gate “and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”. (v 14)

So when it comes to Jesus as “the door” it is by no means going to be easy. Although it is “The Door”, it is not by popular opinion. You will be laughed at, scoffed, ridiculed, and even persecuted. Moreover, there will be thieves and robbers who will try to harm the sheep. 

Dear flock, once you enter  “The Door” rest assured, you’re in His hands! In Christ, you are secure in His hands for He has welcomed you in. 

In closing, those who place their trust in Christ enter “The Door” in which they are “saved and will go in and out and find pasture”. They are the ones who have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). And it’s all because of what Christ has done. Not only do we see Him as “The Door”, but that we see that no alternative exists. Therefore, consider the call He has laid before you and come through!

If you missed my previous posts on Jesus “I am Statements”, click here.

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Questions to Consider

How do you explain Jesus as “The Door” to the unbeliever ?

Think about how Jesus has brought you through “The Door” and give him thanks.

 

I Am Statements (part 2)- I am the Light of the World

“I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life”. -John 8:12

In this post, we will discuss Jesus’ second I am statement. If you missed the first one, click here.

We’re all sinners

Despite the Pharisees’ accusations of the adulterous woman as part of their scheme against Jesus wrote something on the ground, then arose and He said,

““Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

Jesus’ words were perfectly clear that pretty puts every human being on the planet under conviction. Although the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus in that moment, they too had to back down from throwing a stone as they are sinners just like her.

We must understand that our understanding of the Gospel entails a recognition of sin. For we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Which brings us to our first point.

As The Light of the world, sin is exposed.

Only in Jesus can we recognize that our sins have blinded us as we walked in darkness.

John 3:19-21
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

In observing the above passage we recognized how we loved our sin and refused to come to the light and hating the light. But that did not stop Jesus from coming into the world, carrying His ministry, and completing His mission. I loved what it says in John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”. Christ is the unstoppable light in which our sins are exposed and that we would be brought unto Him.

As The Light of the world, salvation is provided.

Light doesn’t just illuminate but it also guides.
According, ESV GLOBAL STUDY BIBLE NOTES, what Jesus is saying echoes the Old Testament’s references to light

In Jesus’ time, candles were used as part of the celebration of the Feast of Booths . During this feast, the rock that provided water in the wilderness and the pillar of fire that provided light and guidance were remembered (Ex. 13:21). The rock pointed to Jesus ( 1 Cor. 10:4) and He the light to which the pillar of fire as a type pointed. Since He is light (1 John 1:5), Jesus’ words amount to a claim of deity. Again, “I am” points back to Ex. 3:14)

An early reference to light is the pillar of fire that guided Israel through the wilderness.

Additional references to light include (Isa. 9:2; 42:6; 49:6). Therefore,Christ fulfills OT promises of the “light” of salvation ; (John 9:5; Acts 26:18, 23, 13; Eph 5:8-14; 1 John 1:5-7). Furthermore, it also confirms His deity.

There’s only one way of salvation and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is more than a light, but The Light (definite article “the”). Meaning He is the only source of salvation.

In other words, Jesus makes light of our sin so that He gives us the light of life, that is eternal life! The Bible notes of the transition of a reborn saint such as

-From death unto life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14)
-From the kingdom of darkness to light (Colossians 1:13)

That is the benefit of being in Christ, that one no longer walks in darkness, but will have the light of life. The world may be dark, but Christ is shining bright. Moreover, His church now partakes in that light as “children of the light” (Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess 5:5)..

This is essential for fellowship with Christian Himself.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:17

Not because of anything in themselves, but because Christ has shown Himself in them and now shows Himself through them! As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so we reflect the light of the Son ! For He is The Light of the world in which we have the light of life.

The Faith Shaped Life by Ian Hamilton (Book Review)

The opening words sets the tone for the book, “the Christian life is a faith-shaped life. Not only is faith the instrument that unites us to Christ, it is the reality that shapes how we live in union with Christ “

Truer words have never been spoken as the rest of the book shows us that it is indeed a reality. It is not just something we acknowledge, but lived out everyday. The rest of the book looks at how faith extends different areas of the Christian life such as trusting in God in dark times to loving our neighbor.

One thing I appreciate in the book is the constant calls to unity and fellowship, even if your denomination is different from mines. Oftentimes, we tend to stay in our camps rather than fellowship with others. Will we agree on everything? No, but we can agree to disagree unless it’s heresy. Hamilton lays that out for us, especially for us Reformed folk! It’s easy to get caught up in debates and squabbles while forsaking love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Like The Gospel Shaped Life, it is a small book yet densely packed in it’s short chapters.

This book is small yet densely packed with 43 chapters in which one can use as a devotional. Both books are so much more than your typical devotional as it implements theology on an informative and practical level. Go get it.

Rating- 4.5/5

Some highlights

“My concern rather is to make the point that faith, to quote Prof. John Murray, is ‘essentially extraspective’. Murray’s telling phrase highlights the primary movement of true faith. It does not look into self, it is not ‘introspective’; it looks out and away to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the focus of faith. Who He is and what He has done is the place where faith casts its anchor for the soul.”

“We must see beyond ourselves to all who are fighting the good fight of the faith and warring against our great enemy, the devil. We must cultivate a brotherly spirit towards all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity and truth”.

“This is the ultimate issue, it seems to me, in the life of faith; when faced with a choice, will we believe the testimony of our circumstances, or will we believe the character of the God who is love, and who loves His children with a love that ‘spared not his only Son but gave Him up for us for us all’?”

Justin Peters: The Modern Prophets and Faith Healers Utterly Destroyed by COVID-19

https://youtu.be/ajU5Yc-_UCY

Hey all, I recommend this video as it thoroughly exposes these false teachers. If anything , this pandemic puts all their doctrines to death. While some of the things were here are unsurprising, there’s some stuff there that will make you angry.

The last thing people need in a pandemic is more heresy and exploitation, especially when people are more vulnerable. But that’s what wolves in sheep’s clothing does best.

All we can do is continue to pray for their repentance.

The Christians writer’s manual of style by Robert Hudson (book review)

This book is a reference book if anything, split up like an encyclopedia so you can find what appeals to your interest. It is compatible with other books on writing such as the Chicago Manual of Style. The difference here is that this book further touches on religious publications. Many guidelines are featured here such as punctuation, writing styles, editing, and so forth. 

Writing is something that I’ve come to know and love in the past few years. It was never a profession not even a hobby to me until I started walking with Christ. I started reading the Bible and Christian books to the point where I desired to write. Hence, creating this blog to use as an outlet to write and share with others. Anyways I came across this book one summer as I sought to read books on writing, especially for Christians. So I ordered this book and I enjoyed it very much. It’s one book I’ll constantly reference back to.

Quotes
“Words have special significance in the Judeo-Christian tradition. God spoke his creation into being and wrote His laws on stone. The Bible itself is “The Word”, and Christ “The Word Incarnate”. Among the earliest printed books in Western languages was the Bible, and its words have shaped our civilization. Words are full of history and power and spiritual import.”
 
“Its goal is to equip the user with the linguistic tools to communicate to the greatest number of people effectively, which, after all, is the goal of writing.”
 
“If any spelling option, punctuation mark, or word–even the “correct” ones–causes the average reader to stumble, then it is wrong.”

“Once For All” – A Good Friday Devotional Amid COVID-19

On this Good Friday, April 10, 2020, things are quite different than usual for obvious reasons. This weekend will be different for the church as we are still not able to meet because of COVID-19. I couldn’t help but think about the Easter plays and choir presentations that will not be taking place this year. If you think about it, that’s a lot of presentations! It is also usually the time of year where many people attend church by invitation or visitation. In short, it is a busy period for the church right up with Christmas. But again, we cannot meet at this time and it is discouraging. The question “How long?” burns fervently on everyone’s minds.

Despite the current circumstances, let us be encouraged by the fact that Jesus’ paid for our sins “once for all” (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 26; 10:10) . The book of Hebrews uses the phrase “once for all” 4 times to drive home the fact that what Jesus did on the cross was final, as He cried out “it is finished” (John 19:30).

Think about that, because it is something we must be reminded of. Despite COVID-19, despite the chaos throughout the world, despite the media, and despite the ongoing fears, concerns, anxieties, and frustrations, Jesus paid for our sins, once for all through the shedding of His blood.

He managed to do what countless animal sacrifices had never done nor could ever do. His one act of salvation outdoes every single of our good deeds (which is “filthy rags”) combined. He tore the veil. He conquered the grave. He brought about forgiveness and redemption as a propitiation of our sins ! As a penal substitution, He drank the cup of God’s wrath on our behalf! And He did it “once for all”.

He will never do it again for there is no need to do it again. His “once for all” sacrifice stands the test of time and eternity. So despite being under quarantine and not meeting at church physically, it does not make what Jesus did any less effective. Nor it shouldn’t make us fear what is going on in the world around us. And it does not make this year’s Good Friday a Bad Friday. For it is still Good Friday! Christ shed His blood for you “once for all”, so that you would be more than welcome in God’s presence forever.

Friends, be encouraged this weekend and thank the Lord for what He has done through His Son who paid it all, “once for all”!

Jesus paid it all,
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow