Spurgeon’s Sorrows

How do we get through them? The times that knock the breath out; when even our strongest and bravest must confess with desolate eyes, “I do not know what to pray” (to paraphrase what Paul expresses in Rom. 8:26). How do we get through such times, when silences trump sentences? It is as if our words have no life jackets. They must stay, tread water in the shallows, and watch us from a distance. Words have no strength to venture with us into the heaving deeps that swallow us.

And many of us who believe in Jesus don’t like to admit it, but we find no immunity here either. Many of us know what it is to lose hair, weight, appetite and the semblance of ourselves. Painful circumstances or a disposition of gloom within our chemistry can put on their muddy boots and stand thick, full weighted and heavy upon our tired chests. It is almost like anxiety tying rope around the ankles and hands of our breath. Tied to a chair, with the lights out, we sit swallowing in panic the dark air.

These kinds of circumstances and bodily chemistry can steal the gift s of divine love too, as if all of God’s love letters and picture albums are burning up in a fire just outside the door, a fire which we are helpless to stop. We sit there, helpless in the dark of divine absence, tied to this chair, present only to ash and wheeze, while all we hold dear seems lost forever. We even wonder if we’ve brought this all on ourselves. It’s our fault. God is against us. We’ve forfeited God’s help.

Mentally, all of this, and its only Tuesday!

How do we get through?


The above extract is from Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression, written by Zack Eswine. This is what people have said about it:

…Spurgeon from early years to final days found dark distress ever hovering on the edges of his mind and sometimes launching an all out assault on his very being. How he managed all this, by the grace of God, both for himself and for others, drives both the gripping content and the riveting literary style of Zack Eswine in Spurgeon’s Sorrows.

Tom J. Nettles, Former Senior Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

The river of life often flows through sloughs of despond. Charles Spurgeon knew that well… Ditto Zack Eswine in this unusual, refreshing, sensible book… Read it, and take it to heart.

David Powlison, CCEF Executive Director, Senior Editor, Journal of Biblical Counseling

Zack Eswine is a pastor with the mind of a scholar and the heart of a poet. His wisdom gleaned from Charles Spurgeon’s struggle with depression is theologically profound and pastorally lucid.

Jason Byassee, Senior Pastor, Boone United Methodist Church, Boone, North Carolina

Zack Eswine, like Spurgeon, a preacher, pastor, and no stranger to suffering… there is much encouragement, comfort and practical help to be found in this rich and poetic treasure.

Richard Winter, Author of When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression, Director of Counseling at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri

 

 

Buy Spurgeon’s Sorrows from your local Christian bookstore, or from these online retailers:

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Answered Prayers

 

In this wonderful video, the late Helen Roseveare, affectionately known as Mama Luka, shares a story about a time when God provided just what was needed, even when she didn’t believe he could.

To read about this story, and lots more, try ‘On His Majesty’s Service’, written by Irene Howat and part of our Trail Blazers series.

Or try ‘Digging Ditches: The Latest Chapter of An Inspirational Life’, one of several books written by Helen Roseveare herself.

 

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Podcast with Melissa Kruger

We love to hear our authors share the stories behind the books that they write – and the insights and lessons which God gives them along the way! Here is a podcast from the folks at the Alliance of Confessing Evanglicals as Aimee Byrd, Carl Trueman, and Todd Pruitt speak to Melissa Kruger about her books, The Envy of Eve and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood:

A-List Uptown Girl

For a more in-depth discussion on the topic of envy, listen in to this podcast from Revive Our Hearts where Melissa speaks specifically about The Envy of Eve. Recognising envy in our lives; the link between unbelief and envy; and the trap (and dangers) of comparison are all highlighted and discussed by Melissa. Well worth a listen!

Revive Our Hearts

 

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Marketing Vacancy

Christian Focus Publications (CFP), a Christian Publishing House based in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland, is offering an opportunity to join their marketing team. The successful applicant will:-

  • oversee, develop and implement marketing plans.
  • integrate the marketing tools available including active social media
  • liaise with industry leaders, ministries and colleagues ensuring appropriate support and planning for events and conferences
  • coordinate with external partners to ensure products are promoted properly and unique sales opportunities are identified and acted upon.

To be considered for this exciting full-time post, you should be:-

  • confident in the use of Microsoft Office packages.
  • keen to travel up to five weeks annually
  • a team player with enthusiasm for the company objectives.
  • able to write compelling marketing copy.
  • entirely comfortable with the explicit ethos and purpose of a Christian publishing house.
  • keen to commit to this work as a long-term career choice.

Relevant experience and qualifications are helpful, but support will be given to the right individual to develop their marketing skills.

Some assistance with relocation may be available for the right candidate.

Applicants should send their CVs, including contact details for two references, to:-  info@christianfocus.com

Closing date:- Thursday 10th August 2017

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Ebooks on Sale Through May 10 – May 17, 2017

Check out our current selection of ebooks on sale through May 17, 2017. A rich selection of helpful books, available at low prices.

The Grand Design  

Sale Price: $3.99/£2.99

 

 

 

“We live in an age characterized by confusion on gender and sexuality … Strachan and Peacock have provided a careful and faithful account of Scripture’s vision for sexuality and gender. This book is urgently needed.”

R. Albert Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky


 

A Heart Set Free  

Sale Price: $3.99/£2.99

 

 

 

“… I wish I had Christina’s book back when I became a believer. It would have saved me a lot of painful emotion-stuffing and foolish emotion-ignoring.”

Gloria Furman, Pastor’s wife, Mom of four, Author of ‘Missional Motherhood‘ and ‘Alive in Him’


 

To Walk or Stay by Lara Williams Sale Price: $3.99/£2.99

 

“As a pastor, I highly recommend putting this gospel-centered book into the hands of anyone devastated by marital unfaithfulness.”

Robert K. Cheong, Pastor of Care and Counseling, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, Kentucky


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Judas kissed Jesus

“The contrarian in me loves this – a look at Jesus through the eyes of His betrayer. And a look at our own relationship with Jesus through exploring theirs.”

Barnabas Piper, Author of ‘The Pastor’s Kid’, ‘Help My Unbelief’, and ‘The Curious Christian’


The kiss of death

No matter what our culture says and what social mores they’ve come to accept, kissing is intimate. You’re in someone’s space, you’re touching them, and you’re not merely touching, you’re touching lips. Now, I understand that Judas didn’t touch lips with Jesus, but he shared something intimate with the Son of God in order to betray Him.

One of the most intimate of human experiences was used as a signal to turn the Son of God over to His destroyers. This kiss would notify the guards who to mock, ridicule, beat, scourge and nail to a cross. This kiss would bring separation between Jesus and His disciples. This kiss would be the moment Jesus’ entire life has been building up to. This kiss of death, however, would bring God’s plan of redemption to fruition.

This kiss signified death. It signified death for Jesus. It was part of the plan Judas had discussed with the guards. It signified death for Judas. He looked one last time into the eyes of the Man who could save him and simply turned him over. It signified the death of death. Three days later, Christ would roll away the stone and walk away from that tomb. It signified the death of life as we know it. This earth is now closer to its end but the beginning of life eternal is ready for its beginning.

The ‘kiss’ of Christ

The beautiful hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, contains these rich lyrics that reflect upon the Savior on the cross, ‘Did e’er such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown?’. Two polar opposites coming together: love and sorrow; sharp thorns and rich crown … kiss and betrayal. These things didn’t belong together, but they were brought together through the man Jesus Christ. Judas disgraced the kiss by using it to betray the Savior of the world. The kiss did not deserve to be disgraced in the manner Judas did. Judas betrayed with a kiss. The greatest traitor in human history kissing the most faithful and trustworthy. Christ, however, has a kiss of His own. What is the ‘kiss’ of Christ? The kiss of Christ is epitomized in the reality of the divine God ‘kissing’ humanity by becoming a human being. Jesus the King became Jesus the babe. The Creator became creature by taking on flesh, leaving His throne and coming to dwell with sinful man. The King of Glory does not belong among prostitutes, tax collectors and self-righteous Pharisees, yet He humbled Himself and dwelt among them.

King of contrasts

What else doesn’t belong together? Enemies adopted as children. You see, God has a way of reconciling things that don’t belong. Judas abused the kiss but God used it to bring His plan of redemption to completion. Christ’s disciples argued about who was the greatest, but Christ became the least so we could inherit the Kingdom. Leaders don’t serve and servants don’t lead, but Jesus led by serving, reconciling what doesn’t belong together. Giving away something is losing, but Christ reconciled giving as receiving.

Any one of us can see a lot of ourselves in Judas. He was an idolater and so are we. He feared man and so do we. He lacked faith and so do we. He sinned against Jesus and so do we. We should be humbled as we survey the life of Judas and realize our lives are often anything but faithful. However, we serve a Savior of reconciliation and He’s the faithful one that reconciles the faithless to Himself.


The above extract is from John Perritt’s new book, published with Christian Focus, What Would Judas Do?: Understanding faith through the most famous of the faithless. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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Ebooks on Sale Through April 26 – May 3, 2017

Check out our current selection of eBooks on sale April 26 – May 3, 2017. This week we are featuring three titles from our children’s imprint, CF4K – Because you are never too young to know Jesus!  

How to be a Bible Beauty by Catherine Mackenzie  Sale Price: $2.99/£1.99

How to Be a Bible Princess by Catherine MacKenzie  Sale Price: $2.99/£1.99

How to be a Bible Warrior by Catherine MacKenzie  Sale Price: $2.99/£1.99

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Christian Focus on the Reformation

Christian Focus Publications produce a rich selection of titles featuring the significant characters of the reformation – from Martin Luther and John Calvin, to lesser known figures such as Theodore Beza and John Huss. 2017 brings the 5ooth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, stirred in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door.  We’ve picked out a few titles below which are required reading for those interested in the story of the reformation and its relevance to us today.


 

“With knowledge, wit, and clarity, Carl Trueman brings key insights from the Reformation on Christ, Scripture, and our appropriation of both to bear on the life of the modern evangelical church.”

Michael Lawrence, Senior Pastor, Hinson Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon

 

Carl R. Trueman examines the origins of contemporary Reformed theology in the Reformation world of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After tracing how this heritage shaped and transformed the intervening period, he then describes some of the major challenges being faced by the evangelical church at the present time and suggests ways of responding which remain faithful to the Scriptures and the theology of the Reformers drawn from it and points towards a future that embraces and disseminates these wonderful doctrines of grace.


 

“…tells the story of Calvin’s life and thought in a compact and compelling way that will serve to acquaint readers with the warm human character of Calvin.”

William Barker, Professor of Church History, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

Robert Reymond brings us John Calvin the man. A reality quite different from the caricature often painted today. Here is a man of deep spirituality with a real love for his fellow man and God. A man also with tremendous intellectual abilities. Whether the moniker ‘stern Calvinist’ is applicable or not – his life has much to teach us.


 

Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth by Shawn D. Wright

“Well researched and well written, this is an important book about Beza based on a close reading of Beza … A stellar contribution to Reformation studies and pastoral theology alike.”

Timothy George, Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

 

Theodore Beza was a man who in his day was one of the luminaries of the Protestant world, who took the reins of the beleaguered Calvinistic movement after its namesake’s death, and who influenced English-speaking Protestantism more than you might imagine. Shawn D. Wright casts light on a figure often neglected and helps illustrate the significant impact of his faith and influence.


Related titles from Christian Focus Publications:

John Knox: Fearless Faith by Steven J. LawsonMartin Luther's Tabletalk

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by | April 24, 2017 · 2:17 pm

UK New Release – April 2017

Check out what’s new at Christian Focus Publications, April 2017 – titles are available now in the UK and available for Pre-order in the US.  Click on the image to find out more:

 

In this 31-day devotional, John Perritt looks at the life of Judas – the experiences he had living with Christ, the things he would have seen and heard, and his terrible final resolve.

The contrarian in me loves this – a look at Jesus through the eyes of His betrayer. And a look at our own relationship with Jesus through exploring theirs.

Barnabas Piper

 

 

The Good Portion is a series written specifically for women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine. God created us to enjoy knowing Him – there is always so much more to be discovered and enjoyed!

Keri Folmar has given a real gift to the church in The Good Portion … she graciously addresses our hang-ups and misunderstandings so we can taste the sweetness of God’s Word for ourselves.

Gloria Furman

 

 

In this short and engagingly-written book, Orlando Saer takes us right back to the beginning to rediscover what the Spirit is about. He shines the light of the Bible itself into our confusion and leaves us overwhelmed with gratitude for this precious Pentecost gift.

Expect to learn, expect to grow, expect to discover all it means for you to rejoice in the greatness of the Spirit.

Neil Powell

 

Other new titles from Christian Focus Publications:

 

 

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by | April 21, 2017 · 1:58 pm

The Cost – What it takes to follow Jesus – Steven J. Lawson

Inside the Book: 

Nestled in a few verses in Luke’s Gospel is a Jesus who would not have been tolerated today: He was not politically correct and He certainly did not try to save people’s feelings. Steven Lawson unpacks these few verses, looking at the unashamed honesty, passion, and urgency with which Jesus explains the life-long cost involved in choosing to follow Him. True Christianity is the biggest sacrifice any person ever makes … but it is in pursuit of the most precious prize ever glimpsed.

Praise for The Cost: 

Like a master builder Steve Lawson gives us the foundation of Jesus’ own words to erect a frame showing the cost, demands, gains and losses of following Christ. In doing so, Dr. Lawson gives us a strong and firm edifice that brings glory to Him and His truth.

R.C. Sproul, Founder & Chairman of Ligonier Ministries, Orlando, Florida

This book is a “must read” for all! The unconverted will hear the gospel; the Christian will find the true road to devotion and joy; the minister will be instructed in the task of biblical gospel preaching, ensuring salvation both for himself and for those who hear him (I Timothy 4:16).

Paul Washer, President, Heart Cry Ministry, Radford, Virginia

Christ’s own summons to discipleship is impossible to harmonize with the laid-back, seeker-sensitive, superficial religion practiced by so many people today who claim to be followers of Christ. Dr. Lawson’s exposition of Luke 14:25-35 distills the vital message and presents it in a robust and penetrating way.

John MacArthur, President, The Master’s University and Seminary and Pastor-Teacher, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California

Listen In:

Steven Lawson spoke at Shepherd’s Conference 2017 on How to Call People to Follow Christ, listen in below:

About the Author: 

Steven J. Lawson is president of OnePassion Ministries, a ministry designed to bring about biblical reformation in the church today, as well as the Professor of Preaching in the masters and doctoral programs at The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, California.

Where to Buy:

The Cost: What it takes to follow Jesus is available at any good Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

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by | April 14, 2017 · 3:25 pm