Monday Meditations: The God-Man – George Whitefield

Monday Meditations - George Whitefield
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

The deists, who own a God but deny his Son, dare go to God outside of Christ. But Jacob was taught better. God soon reveals the gospel unto him. Here is a ladder by which God preaches to us; if you have a mind to climb from earth to heaven, you must get up by the Son of God. No one ever pointed out a proper way to heaven for us, but himself. When Adam and Eve fell from God, a flaming sword turned every way to keep them from the tree of life. But Jesus alone is a new and living way, not only to the holy of holies below, but into the immediate presence of God. And that we might know that he was a proper Savior, the top of it reached to heaven. If it had stopped short, Jacob might have said, ah! the ladder is within a little way of heaven, but does not quite reach it; if I climb to the top, I shall not get there, after all. But the top reached to heaven, to point out the divinity and exaltation of the Son of God. Such a Savior became us; he who was God, God over all, blessed for evermore! Therefore, the Arian scheme is most uncomfortable and destructive – to talk of Christ as if he were a Savior who is not God is no Christ at all. I would turn deist tomorrow if I did not know that Christ was God. “Cursed is the man who builds his faith upon an arm of flesh.” If Christ is God, the Arians and Socinians, by their own thoughts, are undone forever. But Jesus Christ is very God and very man, begotten (and not made) of the Father. May God, of his infinite mercy, write his divinity deep in our hearts!

*Excerpted from George Whitefield Daily Readings, p. 50 (Christian Heritage, 2010).

Where to Buy:
George Whitefield Daily Readings by Randall J. Pederson (editor) 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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New From Michael A. Milton: The Secret Life of a Pastor (and other intimate letters on ministry)

The Secret Life of a Pastor (and other intimate letters on ministry) by Michael A. MiltonLiving a life of Christian service is tough. Quite rightly we can have big hopes for what can be done and dealing with discouragement and disappointment when these dreams shatter can be a painful experience. Michael Milton has a real heart for those who are beginning that work, this heart comes out in brief, honest, penetrating letters that are gold for a pastor just starting out, and remain tremendously helpful to the rest of us, as we seek to serve Christ in our daily lives.

Praise For The Secret Life of a Pastor:

“Mike Milton is a pastor to pastors…I am so grateful that now, in these letters, he has distilled that wisdom for a whole new generation of pastors.”
-George Grant, Senior Pastor, Parish Presbyterian Church, Franklin, Tennessee

“…here is a modern version of C. H. Spurgeon’s Lectures To My Students…they should be read by every pastor, those studying for ministry, and those who care for ministers.”
-Paul Kooistra, President, Erskine College and Seminary, Due West, South Carolina

“This book is nectar. It is full of rich insights and helpful suggestions that cannot possibly fail to bless the reader and enrich their soul…my advice is: buy it and read it often.”
-Tom Holland, Director of Biblical Research, Wales Evangelical School of Theology, Bridgend, Wales

Michael MiltonAbout the Author:
Michael A. Milton, is a Presbyterian minister, U.S. Army chaplain, and educator. His record of service includes senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Dr Milton resides in North Carolina.

Where to Buy:
The Secret Life of a Pastor 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:

The Secret Life of a Pastor (and other intimate letters on ministry) by Michael A. Milton  Buy Now:

 

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Monday Meditations: Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?’ – Spurgeon

Monday Meditations Spurgeon

‘Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?’ Jeremiah 16:20

One great besetting sin of ancient Israel was idolatry, and the spiritual Israel are vexed with a tendency to the same folly. Rephan’s star shines no longer, and the women weep no more for Tammuz, but Mammon still intrudes his golden calf, and the shrines of pride are not forsaken. Self in various forms struggles to subdue the chosen ones under its dominion, and the flesh sets up its altars wherever it can find space for them. Favourite children are often the cause of much sin in believers; the Lord is grieved when He sees us doting upon them above measure; they will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David, or they will be taken from us to leave our homes desolate. If Christians desire to grow thorns to stuff their sleepless pillows, let them dote upon their dear ones.

It is truly said that ‘they are no gods’, for the objects of our foolish love are very doubtful blessings, the solace which they yield us now is dangerous, and the help which they can give us in the hour of trouble is little indeed. Why, then, are we so bewitched with vanities? We pity the poor heathen who adore a god of stone, and yet worship a god of gold. Where is the vast superiority between a god of flesh and one of wood? The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case, only that in ours the crime is more aggravated because we have more light, and sin in the face of it. The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn unto idols. May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!

‘The dearest idol I have known, Whate’er that idol be; Help me to tear it from thy throne, And worship only Thee.’

*Excerpted from Morning and Evening: Daily Readings by C. H. Spurgeon (Christian Heritage, 2009).

Where to Buy:
Morning and Evening: Daily Readings by C. H. Spurgeon 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:

Morning and Evening by C. H. Spurgeon - Matt Tan/Blue Buy Now:

 

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Featured Review – Deron J. Biles Reviews Coping with Change: Ecclesiastes

Coping With Change - EcclesiastesThis volume is an updated version of Kaiser’s 1978 publication. Though Kaiser has added his own translation and updated some of the references along with the bibliography, much of the commentary remains unchanged from its earlier edition.But, while some of his illustrations and references remain dated (cf. 56), the work demonstrates a timelessness and appeal that make it a worthwhile read for pastors,teachers, and others looking for a helpful assessment of “the relationship betweenChrist and culture” (13).

The introduction covers the unity, authorship, date, and purpose of the book of Ecclesiastes. Kaiser begins by challenging the prevailing interpretation of hebel,arguing for the translation “transitoriness” instead of “vanity,” following Daniel Fredericks and others (cf. 24, 57-59). Kaiser argues that this translation better renders the Hebrew which he literally translates as “vapor, breath, mist, or smoke.”Understanding hebel to convey temporariness rather than futility removes some of the allegations of cynicism on the part of the author, is consistent with James’ description of life a vapor (James 4:13-15), and also allows for the connotation of things we are simply unable to understand (59).

In this section, the author makes a strong case for Solomonic authorship based on the language, descriptions, text, linguistic features, and ideas presented in the book (36-42). In addition, he presents a fourfold division of the book forming component parts of an overall argument that finally comes to a conclusion in 12:13-14. According to Kaiser’s arrangement, each section ends with its own conclusion,before the final resolution is given. The remaining chapters of the commentary follow Kaiser’s proposed fourfold division of the book.

Throughout the work, Kaiser demonstrates how Solomon addressed issues of his day that still resonant with contemporary readers. These issues include:wealth, work, wisdom, mystery, pleasure, death and mortality, justice, fear of theLord, worship, government, enjoyment of life as a gift from God, retribution, joy,and suffering. The positive things of life are only passing pleasures unless they are understood to be gifts from God (87). The difficulties of life must be nuanced by the fear of the Lord (46, 102); the providence of God (94); and trust in the Him (118-119), His plan for His creation (120, et al), and the confidence that even suffering has purpose, though those purposes may remain a mystery for mankind (151-52).

In the end, the ultimate test of our faith, in good times and in bad, is the decisive action of remembering our creator and reflecting on who he is and what he has done for us (180). Kaiser sees Solomon’s conclusion as explaining how tragic it would be for one to finish his or her life and never have understood the key to living.The key is that this life is temporary, but God has a larger purpose. His purpose gives meaning to our existence and hope for our eternity. This, Solomon concludes, should cause us to “Fear God and keep His commands.”

Deron J. Biles, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Southwestern Journal of Theology 57, no. 2 Spring 2015, pg. 297

Where to Buy:
Coping With Change – Ecclesiastes by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. 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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New in the ‘Focus on the Bible’ Series: Song of Songs: A Biblical-Theological, Allegorical, Christological Interpretation by James M. Hamilton Jr.

Song of Songs by Jim HamiltonIn the Song of Songs the son of David, King in Jerusalem, overcomes hostility and alienation to renew intimacy between himself and his Bride. This most sublime Song sings of a love sure as the seal of Yahweh, a flashing flame of fire many waters could never quench. James M. Hamilton Jr, in this latest addition to the popular Focus on the Bible series, pours fresh light on this inspiring and uplifting book.

Praise for Song of Songs:

“This beautifully written book of sound Christ-centered biblical exposition and skillful personal application, will not only strengthen and heal many marriages, but will also draw many Christians into a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of their marriage to Christ. Unlike most books on the Song of Songs, this one will make you sing!”
-David Murray, Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“…a fresh, biblically-theologically informed approach to the Song of Solomon. This is a commentary pastors should regularly turn to when preaching through this important but difficult book of Scripture. And make no mistake-reading this commentary will make you want to preach this book.”
-R. Albert Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

About James M. Hamilton Jr.:
James M. Hamilton Jr. is Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Preaching Pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Other books by James M. Hamilton Jr.:
The Bible's Big Story Salvation History for Kids by James M Hamilton Jr

Where to Buy:
Song of Songs 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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US New Releases – May 2015

Here are all of our May 2015 US new releases at a glance. Click any of the cover images below to learn more.

Christian Focus:
Song of Songs by Jim Hamilton Confident: Why we can trust the Bible by Michael Ovey & Daniel Strange The Secret Life of a Pastor (and other intimate letters on ministry) by Michael A. Milton
A Christian's Pocket Guide to Loving The Old Testament: One Book, One God, One Story by Alec Motyer A Christian's Pocket Guide to Papacy: Its origin and role in the 21st century by Leonardo De Chirico

Christian Focus 4 Kids:
How to be a Bible Beauty by Catherine Mackenzie Two Fat Camels

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New From Timothy Cross: A Little Bird Told Me, Everyday Expressions from Scripture

A Little Bird Told Me: Everyday Expressions from Scripture by Timothy Cross“The writing is on the wall”, “a drop in the ocean” and “from strength to strength”. Just some of our everyday expressions which find their roots in the Bible! People quote biblical expressions without even knowing that they are doing so. Historically, the influence of the Bible has been so great that it has permeated the very fibre of the English language. Timothy Cross in this enlightening and Scripture rooted book reveals the origins of these sayings and considers their meaning.

Featured sayings inclue:

  • The apple of my eye
  • No room at the Inn
  • The writing is on the wall
  • The powers that be
  • God forbid!
  • God willing
  • ‘He’s been made a scapegoat …’
  • Worthy of his hire

The full list of sayings found in the book can be found here:  LINK.

About the Author:
Timothy Cross is a graduate of the University of Wales and an experienced preacher and Bible teacher. He is the author of over thirty Christian books and numerous articles in various Christian periodicals.

Where to Buy:
A Little Bird Told Me Everyday, Expressions from Scripture 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:

A Little Bird Told Me: Everyday Expressions from Scripture by Timothy Cross  Buy Now:

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Monday Meditations: Faith – Luke 17:5

Monday Meditations
FAITH

“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” -Luke 17:5

The important request which the Apostles made.

They said unto the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’.

We know not the secret feelings from which this request sprung. Perhaps the hearts of the apostles failed within them, as they heard one weighty lesson after another fall from our Lord’s lips. Perhaps the thought rose up in their minds, ‘Who is sufficient for these things? Who can receive such high doctrines? Who can follow such a lofty standard of practice?’ These, however, are only conjectures. One thing, at any rate, is clear and plain. The request which they made was most deeply important: ‘Increase our faith’.

Faith is the root of saving religion. ‘[H]e that cometh unto God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’ (Heb. 11:6). It is the hand by which the soul lays hold on Jesus Christ, and is united to Him and saved: it is the secret of all Christian comfort, and spiritual prosperity. According to a man’s faith will be his peace, his hope, his strength, his courage, his decision and his victory over the world. When the apostles made request about faith they did wisely and well.

Faith is a grace which admits of degrees. It does not come to full strength and perfection as soon as it is planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost. There is ‘little’ faith and ‘great’ faith; there is ‘weak’ faith and ‘strong’ faith: both are spoken of in the Scriptures; both are to be seen in the experience of God’s people. The more faith a Christian has, the more happy, holy and useful will he be. To promote the growth and progress of faith should be the daily prayer and endeavour of all who love life. When the apostles, said, ‘Increase our faith’, they did well.

If we have any faith let us pray for more of it. It is a bad sign of a man’s spiritual state when he is satisfied to live on old stock, and does not hunger and thirst after growth in grace. Let a prayer for more faith form part of our daily devotions. Let us covet earnestly the best gifts. We are not to despise ‘the day of small things’ in a brother’s soul, but we are not to be content with it in our own.

*Excerpted from Day By Day With J.C. Ryle: A New Daily Devotional of Ryle’s Writings by J.C. Ryle (Christian Heritage, 2011).

J.C. Ryle

About J.C. Ryle:
J. C. Ryle (1816 – 1900) was the first Bishop of Liverpool. He was one of the most authoritative churchmen of his time and his writings have been in constant demand throughout the last hundred years. His popularity was due to his clear and simple style, his longevity due to his being a profound thinker and compassionate pastor.

Where to Buy:
Day By Day With J.C. Ryle: A New Daily Devotional of Ryle’s Writings by J.C. Ryle 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:

Day By Day With J.C. Ryle A New daily devotional of Ryle's writings by J. C. Ryle Buy Now:

 

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Ebooks on Sale Through April 22nd

Below is our current selection of ebooks on sale through April 22, 2015.

Lives Jesus Changed Sale Price: $2.99/£2.00

Everyday Worship Our Work Heart and Jesus by Trisha Wilkerson Sale Price: $3.99/£2.67

 If I Should Die Before I Wake Sale Price: $3.99/£2.67

 

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Books To Watch For at the 2015 Gospel Coalition Conference in Orlando

It’s almost time to hit the road for next week’s Gospel Coalition Conference in Orlando, FL. We’re excited to catch up with old and new friends, so be sure to stop by the conference bookstore and say hi. Here are some of the new Christian Focus titles that you’ll want to pick up during the event:

cpgot-large tt2-large

Mea Culpa heaven-large

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