Light And Truth—The Gospels (book review)

Light and Truth GospelsI love reading the “old guys.” I mean the ones who have stood the test of time, and their lives have backed up their writing. Recently I just finished going through the Gospels in my personal Bible reading time, and I did so with the help of Horatius Bonar, a very notable old guy.

Horatius Bonar was a pastor in the mid- to late-1800s in Scotland. He came from a family tree loaded with pastors, and this rich heritage shines brightly in his writings! In Light And Truth, Dr. Bonar doesn’t shine a light on the Scripture, but he points out where the light is already shining brightly.

Light And Truth is not a verse-by-verse commentary on the Scripture, but more of a theme-by-theme commentary. Bonar dives deep into the biblical account of the life of Jesus. Sometimes he elaborates on a well-known Gospel story, and sometimes he turns his attention to an aspect that not many people would notice.

Light And Truth is not meant to be read in place of the Bible (like a devotional book might be), but alongside the Bible. Allowing Dr. Bonar to show you the light and truth he has seen in the Gospels will add a richness and depth to your own Bible reading.

Thursdays With Oswald—Quick Snippets

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Quick Snippets 

(Normally I share a longer passage from Oswald Chambers, but his book Disciples Indeed contains so many short, power-packed statements, that I wanted to share a few of those with you.) 

  • “If we understood what happens when we use the Word of God, we would use it oftener.” 
  • “Everything the devil does, God over-reaches to serve His own purpose.”
  • “There is nothing so still and gentle as the checks of the Holy Spirit if they are yielded to, emancipation is the result; but let them be trifled with, and there will come a hardening of the life away from God.”
  • “My conscience makes me know what I ought to do, but it does not empower me to do it.”
  • “In the moral realm if you don’t do things quickly you will never do them.”
  • “Second thoughts on moral matters are always the deflections.”
  • “The greatest test of Christianity is the wear and tear of daily life, it is like the shining of silver, the more it is rubbed the brighter it grows.”
  • “We have to do more than we are built to do naturally; we have to do all the Almighty builds us to do.”
  • “When I began to be satisfied with where I am spiritually, instantly I begin to degenerate.

Which of these is your favorite?

Preach Like John

John the BaptistThis is a post for my fellow preachers (but the rest of you are free to listen in as well).

When Jesus says someone is the greatest preacher in history, it gets my full attention. Think about what John didn’t have…

  • No church building
  • No platform or pulpit
  • No worship team
  • No sound system
  • No Logos software
  • No library or study
  • No commentaries
  • No PowerPoint or handouts

He only had the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

His sermons were thoroughly grounded in Scripture (Luke 3:4-6).

His sermons were anointed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:66).

His message was simple: “Repent from your sins, and produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:3, 8).

His messages prompted people to ask, “What should we do?” and he gave them Spirit-anointed answers (Luke 3:10-14).

His messages “exhorted the people” and brought “the good news to them” (Luke 3:18).

His sermons unashamedly called out sin (Luke 3:19).

And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17)

Fellow preachers, may we be of the same spirit in our preaching!

Making Hearts Burn

Living WordThere is an interesting line the angels speak to the ladies who came to anoint Christ’s dead body in the tomb: “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5).

That phrase sums up much of our culture. People are looking for life, but they are looking for it among dead things. Wise King Solomon wrote that God has placed a God-shaped void in the heart of every human being (Ecclesiastes 3:11). But Solomon went on to say that anything “under the sun” that we try to use to fill that God-void will be utterly meaningless.

Peter wrote to aliens and strangers about living such good lives that will point people to God. This means Christians need to help people who are looking for the living among the dead see that real life is in Christ. To do this, we need to be immersed in the Living Word of God.

In the conversations after Christ’s resurrection, look at the references to God’s Living Word:

  • Remember how He told you … Then they remembered His words (Luke 24:6-8)
  • what was said in all the Scripture concerning Himself… (Luke 24:27)
  • …written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms … so they could understand the Scriptures ( Luke 24:44-45)

There is life in God’s Word! When the two disciples of Jesus remembered His Living Word, they said their hearts burned inside them (Luke 24:32).

If you want to help those searching for life to find it, let them hear God’s Living Word coming from your lips. This will make their hearts burn, and lead them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

We will be continuing our series on Aliens And Strangers this Sunday, and I’d love to have you join me either in-person or on Periscope (search for @craigtowens).

Links & Quotes

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“It has pleased God to give each one of us the same amount of time each day, week, month, and year. Time is a gift of God, and He expects us to use it wisely, in ways that overcome the foolishness of living apart from God and glorify Him in all the details of our lives (Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:15-17; 1 Corinthians 10:31). … The challenge of the spiritual life is to claim all our time and construct all our activities in order to pursue what we desire as the life of following Jesus. Anything that doesn’t contribute to that objective distracts from it. … What do the time and activities of your life reveal about what you desire in life and what you’re depending on to give your life purpose and joy?” —T.M. Moore

If you haven’t checked out The Bible Project videos lately, please visit their YouTube channel. They have some really cool stuff that give you an overview of a book of the Bible, and some of the major themes in the Bible. Each video is only 5-7 minutes long, but there is a ton of good insight packed into that time.

“If God did not love us unconditionally, He would not penetrate our unattractive lives, bring us to faith, unite us to Christ, give us His Spirit, and make us progressively like Jesus.” —John Piper

“The Word of God is an expansive Word; ever widening its dimensions; growing upon us; never old, ever new; in which we make continual discoveries; the same tree, but ever putting forth new branches and leaves; the same river, but ever swelling and widening; losing none of its old water, yet ever receiving accessions.” —Horatius Bonar

Planned Parenthood’s love/hate relationship with science.

The Federalist shares 10 reasons it makes zero sense to support abortion.

Parents & teachers, check out what Tim Elmore says we often forget when we are helping our students solve problems.

Links & Quotes

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“The real trouble is that ‘kindness’ is a quality fatally easy to attribute to ourselves on quite inadequate grounds. Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment. Thus a man easily comes to console himself for all his other vices by a conviction that ‘his heart’s in the right place’ and ‘he wouldn’t hurt a fly’, though in fact he has never made the slightest sacrifice for a fellow creature.” —C.S. Lewis

“It is better to have men reproach you for holy living than have God damn us for sinful living.” —Thomas Watson

“Sooner or later, the ones who told you that this isn’t the way it’s done, the ones who found time to sneer, they will find someone else to hassle. Sooner or later, they stop pointing out how much hubris you’ve got, how you’re not entitled to make a new thing, how you will certainly come to regret your choices. Sooner or later, your work speaks for itself. Outlasting the critics feels like it will take a very long time, but you’re more patient than they are.” —Seth Godin

“Over all Scripture the quickening, life-giving fragrance of His name is defused. Christ and life; life in Christ; Christ our life—these form the very essence, the sum and burden, of the Scriptures. ‘These are they that testify of Me.’” —Horatius Bonar

The Cedar Springs Post has a nice article about our church’s exciting move.

Max Lucado writes, “Something tells me that in the whole scheme of things the tender moments with a child are infinitely more valuable than anything I do in front of a computer or a congregation.” Check out his post Tender Moments.

4 reasons why same-sex “marriage” will never measure up to the real thing.

How To End The Sin Of __________

C.H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon was addressing drunkenness in this passage, but what would happen if you filled in sin you are most prone to commit in these blanks…

“You cannot wipe out all the national iniquity, but if each man reformed himself of __________, by God’s grace, this great evil would cease. … Have you heard ringing in your ears the precept, ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy’? Has the Holy Spirit by His mighty grace kept you from indulging in __________? Have you in any way fallen into lightness of talk and thought, and so helped to increase the flood of __________? … Let us bow our heads in penitence, and seek the God of all grace.”

Heavenly Father, may I be more sensitive to the sin in my life than I am aware of the sin in the world. Amen.


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