Thursday Book Review – According to the Promise

Hello, beloved brethren! Today I want to bring to your attention a book which would be excellent for evangelism. C. H. Spurgeon’s According to the Promise is a book outlining the difference between true and false conversion. He used the comparison of Isaac and Ishmael throughout the book to highlight certain characteristics of believers and legalistic church goers. I love how relevant this book is today, although it was written so long ago. So many of the Prince of Preachers words have stood the test of time, because he stuck to Biblical principles.

One of the things, I think, that made Spurgeon such a winner of souls was that he never presumed upon the salvation of others. He loved the lost enough to question whether they were in the faith. He challenged all he met to work through their salvation with fear and trembling. The end result, like he says in this book, is that the truly saved rejoice and find great peace and joy in the assurance of their salvation. At the same time, those deceived into believing they can work their way into heaven become aware of their danger.

I would recommend this book to anyone, believer or nonbeliever. Spurgeon details the path to salvation, accurately depicting the Gospel, while giving all the warning signs of coming up short. I spent so long trying to work my way into heaven, the harder I tried the harder it got, until I was overrun by sin. Finally I gave up all my efforts and humbled myself before God Almighty, my plight was great, my need was infinite, my ability was futile. I needed a savior, I could not save myself. We can save our friends, family, coworkers, and fellow church members, a lot of pain and suffering by being honest with them like Spurgeon is in this book.

I pray this book will be a blessing to you all, dear friends, as it was to me. If you have any books you’d like me to review please feel free to let me know. As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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Thursday Book Review – The Secret Power in Prayer

#spurgeonbook #bookreview

Hello beloved, I have another Spurgeon book to review for today! We can never read too many books from the Prince of Preachers can we?

A while back our brother in Christ, Pastor Jim reviewed this book. I’m in a season, and have been for several months, of learning the whys, when’s, where’s, and how’s of praying. Previous to this book, and one other resource I’ll recommend at the end, I had been praying for help understanding prayer. God is a gracious God, He answers even the weakest believers prayer.

After being saved prayer flowed out of me like an uncontrollable force. As I grow in faith my hearts greatest desire is obedience to God, to love Him with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind. This book, The Secret Power in Prayer, has been extremely enlightening. Throughout the book, based on a sermon, Spurgeon uses John 15:7 to explain the power of prayer in the believers life. With this verse he shows that when Gods Word abides in us our will lines up with Gods will. I recommend this book to all believers, young and old. Kayliegh is reading it, she is 7, and she’s enjoying it as much as I have.

As a Christian, aware of Gods sovereignty, I would never want to be outside of Gods will, much less pray to Him about something outside of His will. But then…why pray at all? It’s His will be done, right? Beloved brethren, I couldn’t stop praying even if I wanted to. However, I still want to understand what God’s sovereign purpose in prayer is. Below is a lecture series that was such a tremendous blessing to me, in regards to prayer. As always, dear friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – Ignatius

A couple weeks ago we returned to the Patristic Fathers with a review of Polycarps writings. Both Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch (35-108) were disciples by the Apostle John. Through the original letters written we can see that Polycarp and Ignatius were friends.

When we consider that the earliest copy of Plato’s Tetralogies is over a thousand years past his life, it’s amazing to me that we have such a treasure trove of the early church writers. This is our history, brethren, and it’s a wonderful thing to have! The Epistle of Ignatius is a short, fantastic book for any believer who wants to look more into the early church. It’s in the public domain, so it’s available in a Kindle version, audio version, pdf version, and of course the good old fashion paper back.

I pray you’ll be blessed by this book, dear friends, as I was. And as always beloved brethren be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – The Letter to the Philippians

Beloved, let’s go way back for this week and nexts weeks book review. There’s a particular joy I get from reading the writings of men who sat under Apostolic teaching. I’m not referring to the nonsense today from vain men who claim to be ‘Apostles’. As brother Justin Peters likes to say “that jobs been filled”. These men are the Patristic Fathers, Polycarp of Smyrna, in particular, is who I want to talk about today.

Polycarp (69 – 155) was disciples specifically by John. He was friends with Ignatius, whose work we’ll review next Thursday.

Throughout his letter multiple verses from the New Testament are quoted. In fact, it’s been said that you could reconstruct the entirety of the New Testament with the quotes in the Patristic writings. This is fantastic news for the believer who has been questioned on the validity of the Bible. It wasn’t put together hundreds of years after the fact by a counsel. It was widely spread throughout the body of believers, however later heresies would cause a counsel to gather and make clear their stance on what was canonical and what was not.

This letter from Polycarp is short, but a wonderful connection for Christians to their historical roots. Church history doesn’t die with John only to be reborn with Luther. True, converted, believers can be seen fighting heresies throughout history, often times being martyred for their defense of the Gospel. Polycarp, himself, was martyred for his faith.

Another important thing we see repeated in the Patristic writings is the historical form of church service. Polycarp gives brief descriptions of how they fellowshipped, as does Justin the Martyr . Although we have to remember that these writings are not Holy Spirit inspired, they are written by the brethren who came before us. They gave their lives for the truth, that we are saved by Gods grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I recommend this book to all believers, and history lovers. It’s a great resource for homeschooling families as well. It’s in the public domain, so it can be read as a free pdf, audio book, or a fairly inexpensive kindle version. It would also make a wonderful gift this season for any of your Pastors.

Grace and peace to you, beloved brethren! As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

#davidbrainerd #puritans #jonathanedwards

Beloved the day is finally here, I get to review one of the most impactful books I’ve read since becoming a believer. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd (published in 1749 by Jonathan Edwards) is one of those books that stays with you. After reading it myself I’m now reading it with Kayliegh, and have ordered copies as gifts for Christmas.

Brainerd (1718-1747) was a Puritan missionary to the Native Americans. He kept a daily journal of his spiritual progress. Many of his entries are heart wrenching, as he describes the struggles we have day to day in our walk with Christ. Brainerd often expresses his desire to be with the Lord. A beautiful prayer God answered, as he went home at the young age of 29.

His writing is very honest, and he is upfront with his struggles in prayer. I’m often tempted to be more enthusiastic in my description of my walk for the encouragement of others. It actually can just heap burdens on brothers and sisters, when we are dishonest about our own trials. It gives them the idea that perfect is possible, just not for them. Often times the most encouraging thing we can do is be truthful. I found Brainerd’s truthfulness very encouraging, as I read his words that reflected my own thoughts I wouldn’t dare voice. Some days my prayer is dull and lifeless, and it does feel like God has left me. Other days my prayer can be filled with sweetness.

I heard Puritans once described as the Redwood trees of the Christian forest. I think that’s a fair assessment, as they often stand tall in their love, obedience and devotion to God. Brainerd is most certainly one of those Redwood trees. We have visited the Redwood forest in our travels, as we walked through a trail of trees so tall you couldn’t see the tops, everything was silent and still. That was one place where Gods creation doesn’t whisper, it sings of His majesty. In the same way, Brainerd’s diary and all he accomplished in his life doesn’t whisper of Gods power to change mans cold heart of stone, it sings of a new creature in Christ, glory to God!

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd is a book I would recommend to every believer, young and old, particularly those who have a love for Puritan writings. I would also suggest this as a gift this Christmas for anyone you know who is considering going into the missions field, is already in the missions field, is an elder, or a pastor. This book is in the public domain, although there does not seem to be a free audio version just yet, you can download the free pdf. Or you can get a Kindle version for less than a dollar. And of course the paperback or hardback copies are available.

I pray this book will bless you, friends. There are so many books that have short daily encouragements or commentaries, however I think an entry or two of this book would be far more helpful. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – LibriVox

In keeping with the grounding theme of this week, today I want to talk a little about why I do a Thursday Book Review. There’s really two reasons, the first is that I think we’re losing some of the best books from hundreds, and sometimes a thousand or so, years ago. Men gave their lives for Gods Word, we have the amazing blessing of reading about them, sometimes in their own words, with the capability we have today with technology. Over the last week I listened to two audio books written in the second century by believers who were personally trained by the Apostles. That’s amazing!

The second reason this is important is that there are major falsehoods being peddled today in mass, through modern book publishers and stores. When you can put a pagan book and a Joyce Meyers book side by side and have them be nearly identical, we’ve got some literary issues. It’s hard to keep up with all the wolves making merchandise off our brothers and sisters. Pointing them to good books with accurate theology can be a great place to start. Often times a non believer won’t hear the Gospel from you, especially if it’s a family member. Theologically sound books are an excellent way to bridge that gap as well.

As I mentioned, I was able to listen to a couple of audio books last week, and while I’m going to have to once again push back the review of David Brainerd’s Journal, I do want to recommend LibriVox. Beloved, this website is chalk full of free audio books that are in the public domain. This means many of our favorites, like Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther, Owens, Edwards, and Bunyan are available. You can download them and listen to them without internet, which certainly comes in handy during long trips to families houses for the holidays!

Obviously the most important thing we can read is the #1 best seller of all times, the Bible. Currently my list of books based on importance would go: Bible, Pilgrims Progress, David Brainerd’s Journal (which is why I’m so excited to review it!) then Foxes Book of Martyrs. I would love to hear what some of your favorites are, dear brethren. Many of your book reviews have been a tremendous blessing to me. I pray that you will all continue to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As always, beloved friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – Preview

Beloved, I did not finish the book I wanted to review today. It’s too good of a book not to do it justice so, instead, I’m going to get you all amped up with a preview. Next Thursday I’ll give you my opinion on this book, but for this week here is a little treat for you all! The preface for The Life and Diary of David Brainerd, written by Jonathan Edwards himself.