Greetings, Readers!

Looking for something good to read? Well, you’ve come to the right place! I love reading, book lists, and recommending great books to others. Please accept my humble reviews and recommendations of Christian, Classic, and Children’s books. Check out my lists of “Books Every Christian Should Read,” and feel free to comment on my articles and to offer some of your own recommendations!

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God-Gifts: Here, there and everywhere

One-Thousand-Gifts-book-coverOne Thousand Gifts: a dare to live fully right where you are by Ann Voskamp

“I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”


At Christmastime, many people become consumed with gifts. The typical process begins with the creation of a list, whether mental or physical, of people we want (or are obligated) to give gifts to, along with perhaps gift ideas for those individuals. Then we strategize about when and where we will obtain said gifts and how much we intend to spend. Those of us who aren’t the shopper-types will probably take the easy way and do our shopping online and/or buy gift cards. There are always those one or more people on our list whom we either don’t spend much time around to know what they would like or need, or whom we can’t decide what to get because we assess he or she “already has everything they need.” Along with considering who we will give gifts to, while we may not admit it out loud, we look forward to whatever gifts we think we may receive when the time comes for exchanges. Continue reading

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Thanksgiving resources for families

GiveThanksThanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. – G. Washington


Thanksgiving season provides a wonderful opportunity to teach children about the beginnings of our nation, and how God used a small group of believers to do it. As I mention in my article “The First Thanksgiving: the Back Story,” the most important resource for learning about the Pilgrims is William Bradford’s historical narrative, Of Plymouth Plantation. This is a valuable text for older children and adults. But there are some other helpful resources that I’d like to recommend to introduce young children to the people and events related to the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving:

Books

Websites

happy-thanksgiving

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The First Thanksgiving: The Back Story

Of Plimoth Plantation by William Bradford

“In this precious volume…is told the noble, simple story ‘of Plimoth Plantation.’ In the midst of suffering and privation and anxiety the pious hand of William Bradford here set down in ample detail the history of the enterprise from its inception to the year 1647. From him we may learn ‘that all great and honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages.'” (Roger Wolcott, Governor of Mass., 1897)
 
The First Thanksgiving

“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth”
by Brownscombe

Since it’s the month of Thanksgiving, I thought this would be an appropriate time to talk about William Bradford’s historical narrative, Of Plymouth Plantation. What American isn’t familiar with the story of the Pilgrims? Well, I think MANY Americans don’t know the whole story, and some people nowadays talk as if it’s nothing but a legend or exaggeration of what really happened. Of Plimoth Plantation is an account that should be required reading in every American high school, as well as one that every American Christian should be familiar with. Continue reading

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Happy Reformation Day!

Whether or not you choose to celebrate the last day of October as Halloween and how you do so falls into the category of liberty of conscience, in my opinion. However, it is unfortunate that so many Protestant Christians get caught up in and distracted by Halloween festivities, yet they ignore (or are ignorant of) the fact that October 31st is an important day historically in the church.

With that in mind, I thought I would share this brief overview which was published on the Ligonier Ministries blog.

What Is Reformation Day All About? by Robert Rothwell (October 29, 2014)

MLutherOn Friday, much of the culture will be focused on candy and things that go bump in the night. Protestants, however, have something far more significant to celebrate on October 31. Friday is Reformation day, which commemorates what was perhaps the greatest move of God’s Spirit since the days of the Apostles. But what is the significance of Reformation Day, and how should we consider the events it commemorates?

At the time, few would have suspected that the sound of a hammer striking the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany, would soon be heard around the world and lead ultimately to the greatest transformation of Western society since the apostles first preached the Gospel throughout the Roman empire. Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to the church door on October 31, 1517, provoked a debate that culminated finally in what we now call the Protestant Reformation.

An heir of Bishop Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther is one of the most significant figures God has raised up since that time. This law student turned Augustinian monk became the center of a great controversy after his theses were copied and distributed throughout Europe. Initially protesting the pope’s attempt to sell salvation, Luther’s study of Scripture soon led him to oppose the church of Rome on issues including the primacy of the Bible over church tradition and the means by which we are found righteous in the sight of God.

This last issue is probably Luther’s most significant contribution to Christian theology. Though preached clearly in the New Testament and found in the writings of many of the church fathers, the medieval bishops and priests had largely forgotten the truth that our own good works can by no means merit God’s favor. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and good works result from our faith, they are not added to it as the grounds for our right standing in the Lord’s eyes (Eph. 2:8-10). Justification, God’s declaration that we are not guilty, forgiven of sin, and righteous in His sight comes because through our faith alone the Father imputes, or reckons to our account, the perfect righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).

Martin Luther’s rediscovery of this truth led to a whole host of other church and societal reforms and much of what we take for granted in the West would have likely been impossible had he never graced the scene. Luther’s translation of the Bible into German put the Word of God in the hands of the people, and today Scripture is available in the vernacular language of many countries, enabling lay people to study it with profit. He reformed the Latin mass by putting the liturgy in the common tongue so that non-scholars could hear and understand the preached word of God and worship the Lord with clarity. Luther lifted the unbiblical ban on marriage for the clergy and by his own teaching and example radically transformed the institution itself. He recaptured the biblical view of the priesthood of all believers, showing all people that their work had purpose and dignity because in it they can serve their Creator.

Today, Luther’s legacy lives on in the creeds and confessions of Protestant bodies worldwide. As we consider his importance this Reformation Day, let us equip ourselves to be knowledgeable proclaimers and defenders of biblical truth. May we be eager to preach the Gospel of God to the world and thereby spark a new reformation of church and culture.

Luther

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“Christian” Books Every Christian would be better off NOT Reading, Part Three

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
 
“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).
 

The Word of God warns that those who decide to become teachers are to be held accountable for what they say. I believe this applies as well to those who write books that are meant to help or instruct the reader, especially if they choose to write about the things of God for the profit of the people of God. With so many works being published by Christians for Christians, God’s people more than ever need to be discerning, like the Bereans of Acts 17, who compared what they heard preached with what the Scriptures taught.

In Parts One and Two of this series, I brought to your attention several books that I feel are not very profitable for Christians to read: Continue reading

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In Everything by Prayer, without Grumbling, but with Thanksgiving

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).


Over the past four months I have been diligently and eagerly searching for a new job and have literally applied to over 100 positions. I and others have been praying about this situation, asking God to provide the right job for me in His timing. But I have a confession to make: in the meantime, I have been unfaithful to Him. I have had a complaining spirit and a negative attitude about my job. Recently having worked eight days straight (60+ hours), in my weariness and discouragement I found myself complaining. How ungrateful! I know of individuals who cannot obtain work, are unable to work, or have to work several jobs just to make ends meet. And I have the nerve to complain about having too many hours! Shame on me.

Apparently I’ve forgotten that, almost a year ago, when we learned our rent was being raised significantly, God promptly provided my current job to meet our financial needs. Continue reading

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