Monthly Archives: December 2013

Monday Meditations: Better is the End of a Thing Than the Beginning Thereof

Monday Meditations

‘Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof’
Ecclesiastes 7:8

Look at David’s Lord and Master; see His beginning. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Would you see the end? He sits at His Father’s right hand, expecting until His enemies be made His footstool. ‘As He is, so are we also in this world.’ You must bear the cross, or you shall never wear the crown; you must wade through the mire, or you shall never walk the golden pavement. Cheer up, then, poor Christian. ‘Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.’ See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof. That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you shall be like Him, for you shall see Him as He is. Be content to be like Him, a worm and no man, that like Him you may be satisfied when you wake up in His likeness. That rough-looking diamond is put upon the wheel of the lapidary. He cuts it on all sides. It loses much – much that seemed costly to itself. The king is crowned; the diadem is put upon the monarch’s head with trumpet’s joyful sound. A glittering ray flashes from that coronet, and it beams from that very diamond which was just now so sorely vexed by the lapidary. You may venture to compare yourself to such a diamond, for you are one of God’s people; and this is the time of the cutting process. Let faith and patience have their perfect work, for in the day when the crown shall be set upon the head of the King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, one ray of glory shall stream from you. ‘They shall be Mine,’ saith the Lord, ‘in the day when I make up My jewels.’ ‘Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.’

*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 Daily Readings - C. H. Spurgeon Buy Now:

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Torchbearers E-Book Sale

Torchbearers E-Book Sale

The following Torchbearers e-books are on sale through January 6th:

James Chalmers Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

Jim Elliot Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

 Nate Saint Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

Polycarp Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

Two Margarets Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

 Titanic Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

 William Tyndale Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

 

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John Owen E-book Sale

John Owen Ebook Sale
The following John Owen e-books from Christian Heritage are on sale through December 30th. Each volume begins with an extensive introduction from Sinclair Ferguson.

Glory of Christ by John Owen Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

Holy Spirit by John Owen Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

 Communion With God by John Owen Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

 Priesthood of Christ by John Owen Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

 Assurance by John Owen Sale Price: $3.99/£2.52

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us at the Christian Focus Booknotes Blog.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:11–12, ESV

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Monday Meditations: Witness

Monday Meditations - Unity

Witness

December 23

“Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” -John 4:29

How zealous a truly converted person is to do good to others.

We are told that the Samaritan woman ‘went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?’ In the day of her conversion she became a missionary. She felt so deeply the amazing benefit she had received from Christ, that she could not hold her peace about Him. Just as Andrew told his brother Peter about Jesus, and Philip told Nathanael that he had found Messiah, and Saul, when converted, straightway preached Christ; so, in the same way, the Samaritan woman said, come and see Christ. She used no abstruse arguments. She attempted no deep reasoning about our Lord’s claim to be the Messiah. She only said, come and see. Out of the abundance of her heart her mouth spoke.

That which the Samaritan woman here did, all true Christians ought to do likewise. The Church needs it. The state of the world demands it. Common sense points out that it is right. Everyone who has received the grace of God, and tasted that Christ is gracious, ought to find words to testify of Christ to others. Where is our faith, if we believe that souls around us are perishing, and that Christ alone can save them, and yet hold our peace? Where is our charity if we can see others going down to hell, and yet say nothing to them about Christ and salvation? We may well doubt our own love to Christ, if our hearts are never moved to speak of Him. We may well doubt the safety of our own souls, if we feel no concern about the souls of others.

Do we ever talk to others about God, and Christ, and eternity, and the soul, and heaven, and hell? If not, what is the value of our faith? Where is the reality of our Christianity?

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

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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Christian Focus Across the Web – December 20, 2013

This week’s highlights are below:

Todd Pruitt names Paul Wells’ Taking the Bible At Its Word Amongst Favorite Books of 2013 – We were pleased to see earlier this week on Reformation21, that Todd Pruitt included Taking the Bible At Its Word by Paul Wells in his list of favorite books for the year. See all of Todd’s favorites here:  LINK.

Christmas Only Has One True Light (The Scotsman) – Earlier this week The Scotsman published Christian Focus author David Robertson’s article titled Christmas Only Has One True Light. Read the entire article here:  LINK.

Christians Persecuted by Islamists, Says Prince Charles (BBC News) – Christian Focus author Patrick Sookhdeo was amongst Middle East-based Christian leaders meeting with Prince Charles to discuss ongoing persecution by Islamists. Read the full BBC News article here:  LINK. Find out more about Patrick’s book A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Islam here:  LINK.

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What is a Christian? by Roger Carswell

What is a Christian? by Roger Carswell“This little book examines the ‘DNA’ of Christians. Despite all Christians possessing different physical features, personalities, and cultural backgrounds, as well as varying peripheral concerns, there are core beliefs which are basic to those who have truly put their trust in Jesus. Of course, we know that many, especially in the West, claim the name ‘Christian’ but are not following Jesus. For them, it is social and cultural. But what is it that people who are more than nominal Christians believe? What are the building blocks of real Christian faith? What is basic for the person who has come to know God in a dynamic and intimate relationship? What is the Christian’s DNA?… I pray that [this book] will introduce you to the true and living God who is, after all, the Author of DNA!”

*Excerpted from Roger Carswell’s introduction to What is a Christian?

Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1: What does it matter anyway?
  • Chapter 2: A Christian has recognised who God is
  • Chapter 3: A Christian has repented of all that is wrong
  • Chapter 4: A Christian has received what Jesus offers
  • Chapter 5: A Christian is revelling in what he or she has

Praise for What is a Christian?:

“Roger’s enthusiasm for Jesus is infectious and, through his ministry, many have caught the bug! This little book bubbles over with life as we’re pointed again and again to the Lord Jesus. A great introduction for enquirers.”
-Glen Scrivener ~ Evangelist, Revival Media, Eastbourne

“Roger writes to feed and challenge the intellect, to warm the heart and to pull at the will for a clear response. This is not only a book; it is a compelling and convincing evangelistic talk! There is huge confusion as people answer this question and this book helpfully deals with all the reason for that confusion. There is a real honesty about the bad news for people, but a wonderful joy about the good news. It is all written by a man whose heart has so obviously been gripped by the Lord Jesus and His wonderful gospel.”
-Tim Hanson ~ Vicar, Christ Church Wharton, Winsford

What is a Christian? is a clear, compelling and concise introduction to the life of faith. It’s amazing how much wonderful truth can be squeezed into just 80 pages!”
-Dave Gobbett ~ Associate Pastor, Eden Baptist Church, Cambridge

Roger CarswellAbout the Author:
Roger Carswell was a secondary school teacher. He now works full-time speaking to students and adults about the believability of the Christian faith and its relevance to the modern world. He is married to Dot and they have four children.

Learn more about Roger Carswell from his author profile here at Christian Focus Booknotes.

Other Books by Roger Carswell: 
Facing a Task Unfinished:  A Personal Devotional for evangelism by Roger Carswell

Where to Buy:
What is a Christian? by Roger Carswell 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:

What is a Christian? by Roger Carswell Buy Now:

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Monday Meditations: Ambassadors for Christ

Monday Meditations - Gird and Serve

Ambassadors for Christ

‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you’ (John 15:16).

‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations. And, lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end of the age’ (Matt. 28:18-20 RV).

It is a wonderful thing to hear these words from the lips of our Lord, when we remember what the Devil said to him at the beginning of his ministry (Luke 4:6). Evidently the sceptre had been wrested from the hand of the prince of this world. Our Lord is supreme in heaven, and equally so on earth. He has authority over winds and waves; over the natural world with its laws and elements; over gold mines and harvest fields; over the minds and souls of all men who have been purchased by his precious blood. It would greatly facilitate our obedience to his command if we realised that the whole world is his by creation and redemption, and that wher- ever we go throughout its vast territory we are within his domains.

Notice the care with which Christ insists that those who were disciples should be taught to observe all his commands (v. 20). He chose the apostles that they might receive his commands, not for their own obedience alone, but that they might impress them upon others. Obedi- ence is the law of spiritual growth and blessedness. Let us resolve, first to observe whatsoever the Master has appointed; then second, to teach others to do the same. Whenever the task seems too great for our strength, let us remember the precious promise that he is with us always, as the margin puts it – ‘all the days’. Never a day can come with its demands, its call for dutiful obedience, but he will be at hand to bear our burden, to help us by the right hand of his strength, to inspire us by the light of his face.

Christian life, after all, comes to this – how much will you obey Christ? If you refuse, you shut yourself out of his best, for he can do nothing for you or with you. But if you surrender yourself to obey, there is no limit to the usefulness and blessedness that must ensue (Gen. 18:18-19). To live like this, we must abide in him, and allow his words, by meditation and prayer, to abide in us. Then obedience ceases to be an effort, but it is the fruit of an exuberant life.

Prayer:
Help us to abide in our calling with thee, to detect thy presence in every place. May we realise that every place may be a temple, every duty a service, and that we are part of thy great host, who do thy bidding, hearkening to the voice of thy word. Amen.

*Excerpted from Our Daily Walk: Daily Readings by F. B. Meyer (Christian Heritage, 2010).

Where to Buy:
Our Daily Walk: Daily Readings by F. B. Meyer 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:

Our Daily Walk by F. B. Meyer Buy Now:

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Christian Focus Across The Web – December 13, 2013

This week’s highlights are below:

Matt Smethurst names Nettles’ Living By Revealed Truth Amongst TGC Staff’s Best Books of 2013 – We were pleased see Tom Nettles’ new Spurgeon biography cited amongst The Gospel Coalition staff’s best books of 2013. See the full list here: LINK

Last Day of our December E-Book Sale – Today is the last day to take advantage of our current e-book sale. Learn more here:  LINK

More Reviewers Weigh in on Five Points by John Piper – Here are a few excerpts from some of the latest reviews we’e received for John Piper’s new book Five Points: Towards A Deeper Experience of God’s Grace:

“Readers who purchase Piper’s Five Points will hold in their hands a helpful and accessible work that provides a brief overview and general introduction to Calvinistic soteriology. Piper writes as one who has stood in awe at the wonder of the God of salvation, and his desire is that his readers’ worship will be deepened as the result of gazing upon the Eternal God.”
-David Norman (davidnormanblog.com)

Five Points is a clear on all points, consistent, faithful to the text exegetically, faithful to Scripture in its overall biblical witness and concise enough for anyone to benefit from. As my systematic teacher Fred Zaspel says time and time again, if you accept total depravity then the rest should fall into place. This is the case and Piper shows us the way.”
-Craig Hurst (craighurst.wordpress.com)

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Christmas Gift Ideas For Pastors And Seminary Students

Christmas is less than two weeks away, so it’s time to finish up your Christmas shopping. Around here, we’re of the opinion that books make some of the best Christmas gifts. Unlike cookies and candy, a good book can be enjoyed the whole year through, maybe even for many years to come. Here are a few of the books we’d recommend for some of your favorite pastors and seminary students:

Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles

Living By Revealed Truth The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles
Five Points: Towards A Deeper Experience of God’s Grace by John Piper

 Five Points: Towards A Deeper Experience of God's Grace by John Piper
Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer

 Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer
Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative by Sam Storms

 Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative by Sam Storms

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