Jesus Always (book review)

jesus-alwaysDo you ever feel like you need to hear a personal word from Jesus? If you do, Jesus Always by Sarah Young can give you a daily dose of personal messages.

The whole Bible is God lovingly speaking to us, but sometimes we miss that it is His personal word to us. Sarah Young has done a beautiful job in weaving together Scriptural promises, and then having them speak to us in the first-person voice of Jesus. Somehow hearing the words of The Word spoken in a format that sounds so personal made it much easier for me to apply to my life.

Each day’s message contains the encouraging or challenging word in Christ’s voice, with direct quotations from the Bible italicized. Then at the bottom of the page are listed the references in the Bible, so you can read the entire biblical passage.

I have found so many days that Christ’s word to me was just what I needed to hear, or just what I needed to pass along to a friend who was struggling. I think Jesus Always will be an excellent addition to anyone’s library.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

6 More Quotes From “Light & Truth—Revelation”

light-and-truth-revelationHoratius Bonar always gives lots of thought-provoking content in his commentaries, and his commentary on the Book of Revelation is no exception. Here are a few more quotes for you.

“What man needs, then, is Jesus; not mere knowledge or wisdom. What humanity—unconsciously and ignorantly, it may be—sighs for, is Jesus. What earth, ruined and accursed because of sin, groans for, is Jesus—nothing less than this. No other prophet or priest or king can meet the exigencies of the race and its dwelling, the earth, but Jesus only.”

“What is your hope? What is judgment to do for you? What is resurrection to bring? Look at the following alternatives, and ask which is to be yours: Everlasting gladness, or everlasting sorrow? Everlasting glory; or everlasting shame? Everlasting songs, or everlasting wailing? The marriage supper of the Lamb, or the perpetual banishment from all that is good and holy? The new heavens and earth, or the eternal wilderness, with its parched and burning wastes? The heavenly Jerusalem, with the Lamb as its light, or the blackness of darkness? The fruit of the tree of life and the waters of the celestial river, or the eternal hunger and the unquenchable thirst? (Luke 16:24). The first resurrection, or the second death? These are the alternatives before you; and there is no middle room.”

“The first book of Scripture and the last fit well into each other; the first two chapters of Genesis and the last two of Revelation fit together like the two halves of a golden clasp set in gems. Enclosed between the two is the history of six thousand years. And what a history! What a beginning, and what an ending! It began with the new, and it ended with the new—the strange checkered ‘old’ lying mysteriously between. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ ‘I saw new heavens and a new earth.’”

“Such is the love of God. It is the love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father chooses in His own sovereignty; the Son washes in His own blood; the Spirit purifies and prepares by His mighty power. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us! It is free love; sovereign love; eternal love; unchanging love; boundless love; love which not merely delivers from wrath, but which makes the delivered one an heir of God, nay, the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

“Our title to all this surpassing and eternal glory is simply the blood of the Lamb. He has bought it for His Church; and it is hers forever. The nightless day, the unsetting sun, the incorruptible life, the undefiled inheritance, the new name, the heavenly city, the everlasting kingdom— all are hers; hers through ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant.’ She is to walk worthy of it here—worthy of such a crown, such a heritage, such a city, such a Bridegroom, such a joy. ‘Be holy;’ ‘be perfect;’ ‘walk worthy of the Lord.’”

“Christian parents! For which of the two worlds are you training your children? For this world, or that which is to come? Be assured that the same training will not do for both.”

If you haven’t checked out my review of Light & Truth—Revelation, please click here. You can also read the first set of quotes I shared from this book by clicking here.

Light And Truth—Revelation (book review)

light-and-truth-revelationI love looking at the Scripture through wiser eyes. I have just completed my journey through the New Testament with Horatius Bonar pointing out things I may have otherwise missed. The fourth in his series of commentaries on the New Testament is Light And Truth—Revelation.

In reviewing the first three books in this series, I mentioned that Bonar seldom presents a verse-by-verse commentary on the Scriptures, but more of an overall theme on select passages. In Revelation he departs from this pattern. Frequently there are extensive passages which he dissects word-by-word, going deep into the implication for Christians. This was unexpected, but greatly welcomed.

Since the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, He is the best source of illumination when reading Scripture. But Horatius Bonar is clearly a man immersed in the overall message of the Bible, and guided by the Holy Spirit in his writings. This is an excellent set of commentaries to enhance your study of the New Testament.

Be sure to check out my reviews of Horatius Bonar’s other Light And Truth commentaries on the New Testament:

11 More Quotes From “Culture”

cultureA.W. Tozer wrote almost 50 years ago, but his words to the church still ring true today. Check out my review of Culture, and then enjoy some additional quotes from this book.

“To preserve life the physician and the druggist use words of fixed meaning common to both. How much more should the pulpit and the pew have a clear understanding about the words of eternal life. The modern effort to popularize the Christian faith has been extremely damaging to that faith. The purpose has been to simplify truth for the masses by using the language of the masses instead of the language of the church. It has not succeeded, but has added to rather than diminished religious confusion.”

“The hope of the church yet lies in the purity of her theology, that is, her beliefs about God and man and the relation to each other. These beliefs have been revealed to her by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. Everything there is clear-cut and accurate. We dare not be less than accurate in our treatment of anything so precious.”

“I think we make two mistakes in our attitude toward our Christian leaders, one is not being sufficiently grateful to them and the other in following them too slavishly.”

“Today we evangelicals are showing signs that we are becoming too rich and too prominent for our own good. With a curious disregard for the lessons of history we are busy fighting for recognition by the world and acceptance by society.”

“That terrible zone of confusion so evident in the whole life of the Christian community could be cleared up in one day if the followers of Christ would begin to follow Christ instead of each other.”

“The difficulty we modern Christians face is not misunderstanding the Bible, but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions.”

“Our churches these days are filled (or one-quarter filled) with a soft breed of Christian that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. About theology they know little. Scarcely any of them have read even one of the great Christian classics, but most of them are familiar with religious fiction and spine-tingling films. No wonder their moral and spiritual constitution is so frail.”

“To accept the call of Christ changes the returning sinner indeed, but it does not change the world. The wind still blows toward hell, and the man who is walking in the opposite direction will have the wind in his face. And we had better take this into account when we ponder on spiritual things.”

“Christianity’s scramble for popularity today is an unconscious acknowledgment of spiritual decline.”

“The desire to stand well with our fellow man is a natural one, and quite harmless up to a point, but when that desire becomes so all-consuming that we cannot be happy apart from the praises of man, it is no longer harmless, it is sinful in itself and injurious in its effects.”

“A Christian’s standing before God does not depend upon his standing before men. A high reputation does not make a man dearer to God, nor does the tongue of the slanderer influence God’s attitude toward His people in anyway.”

To read some additional quotes I shared from Culture, click here. You may also follow me on Twitter and Tumblr to read quotes which I share daily from Tozer and other notable thinkers.

The Qur’an And The Bible

Answering JihadIn his outstanding book Answering Jihad, Nabeel Qureshi gives us an understanding of the beliefs which support the Islamic faith. One thing that is key for Muslims is their reliance on multiple sources for definitive answers to their faith. Nabeel explains it this way…

“The Qur’an that was the first Arabic book ever put into writing, and the Arabic script of the seventh century remained too deficient to capture the richness and complexities of its text. … Muslim biographers begin to write about Muhammad’s life around 770 A.D.” 

“By the middle of the ninth century, there were more than 500,000 traditions of Muhammad’s life in written and oral circulation, and Muslim scholars decided to undertake the effort of sifting through them and distilling the most authentic accounts.” 

“Since there are thousands of verses in the Qur’an and hundreds of thousands of hadith, it is expected that only trained Muslim jurists can engage in determining what sharia teachers. The jurist must give primacy to the Qur’an, then consider the actions (sunnah) and sayings (hadith) of Muhammad, followed by reviewing the consensus of Islamic scholars, or ijma, before using his own reasoning (qiyas). By following these four steps, a Muslim jurist can make a decision, or fatwa, about what sharia teaches on a given matter. The ultimate goal is to apply the teachings of sharia to Muslim life, and that is called fiqh.” 

“As is probably clear by now, at no point was the average Muslim expected to read the Qur’an to decide upon correct Islamic practices by himself or herself. Not only is Islam not a faith that upholds the sufficiency of scripture alone, the complexity of its foundations virtually necessitates a reliance on jurists and scholars for proper practice.” 

I prefer to pattern my life after the Bible, a book which I am free to read on my own. It’s authenticity has been well-established, and it doesn’t require me to find an “expert” in the texts and traditions to explain to me how to live my life.

I would highly recommend you read two books by Nabeel Qureshi: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and Answering Jihad. If you are curious about the claims of the Bible, you can check out God-Breathed and Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask. And if you want to dig any deeper, search this website for the quotes I have posted from all four of these books.

Archeological Study Bible (book review—part 2)

Archeological Study BibleI wrote a review on the Archeological Study Bible when I was roughly halfway through the Bible, but as I have now finished, I thought another review was in order.

Zondervan did an amazing job on this project! I love reading the Bible, and I love studying history, and this study Bible helped me to do both of those things without getting lost on too many “rabbit trails.” Some study Bibles I have read require a lot of page flipping to follow a thought or do a little research. But the ABS kept the historical articles, maps, and graphics close at hand to the biblical text I was reading, so page flipping was kept to a minimum.

At over 2300 pages, there is so much history that came alive as I read through the Bible. I also read through the Bible in chronological order, so I really felt like the ABS was helping me move seamlessly along the timeline of history.

Purchasing this Bible gives you access to an online gallery of many of the photos and other study materials. I also purchased the Kindle version of this Bible, to make searching for content much easier.

If you are looking for a fresh way to study the history surrounding the Scripture, I highly recommend the Archeological Study Bible to you.

Thursdays With Oswald—The Harmony Of Health

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly 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.

The Harmony Of Health

     Health, or physical harmony, is a perfect balance between our organism and the outer world. … The great error of the healthy-minded cult is that it ignores a man’s moral and spiritual life. … The attitude to sickness in the Bible is totally different from the attitude of people who believe in faith-healing. The Bible attitude is not that God sends sickness or that sickness is of the devil, but that sickness is a fact usable by both God and the devil. 

   Happiness or moral harmony is a perfect balance between our inclination and our environment. … The Bible reveals that a man can have physical health at the cost of his moral welfare, and happiness at the cost of spiritual welfare. 

   Holiness, or spiritual harmony, is a perfect balance between our disposition and the law of God. … 

   The devil tries to make us think that when we have entered into the sanctified life, all is done; it is only begun. We have entered into Jesus Christ’s finished work, but remember, says Paul, you have attained to nothing yet; everything is perfectly adjusted, now began to attain and to “grow up into him in all things. These three things develop slowly together: first, the basis of spiritual holiness; second, the building of moral happiness; and third, the decoration of physical health. A full-grown man in Christ Jesus is one who has become exactly like Christ Jesus. “Till we all come…unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). 

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Quite simply Oswald Chambers identifies health as a perfect balance:

  • Physical health balances outside germs against inside defenses.
  • Emotional health balances outside circumstances with inside coping mechanisms.
  • Spiritual health balances God’s law (outside) with our obedience to that law (inside).

Furthermore, Chambers says that Jesus Christ is our measuring stick. We must study God’s Word, and watch Jesus closely to see how He lived out the perfect balance of the Scriptural principles so that we can attain “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

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