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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Black & White & Red All Over: Lessons from The Scarlet Letter

Scarlet LetterThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

“He to whom only the outward and physical evil is laid open, knoweth, oftentimes, but half the evil which he is called upon to cure. A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part.”


The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a classic work of American literature and undoubtedly the author’s best-known book. It appears on many high school reading lists, and unfortunately many students seem to find it dreary and boring, but I feel it’s one that every student and Christian should familiarize themselves with, as it’s a valuable and memorable story that teaches much about human nature and the consequences of sin.

Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter in 1850 and takes 40 pages of introductory material to provide the setting and background for the story, which takes place in Boston 200 years earlier. Continue reading

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20 Years Later: Left Behind Leftovers

Left_Behind“The only Bible verse Rayford could quote by heart was Genesis 1:1: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ He hoped there’d be some corresponding verse at the end of the Bible that said something like, ‘In the end God took all his people to heaven and gave everybody else one more chance.’ But no such luck.”



Last fall I did a series of reviews I entitled, “Books every Christian would be better off NOT reading.” For the most part, I didn’t write full reviews of these books because most of them I haven’t read, nor, to be honest, do I intend to. My observations and warnings were based on excerpts and other reviews I’ve read. The first book I discussed in that series was Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Well, here it is, 20 years after Left Behind was published and my curiosity finally got the better of me; I actually read the first book, and now I have some of my own observations and concerns to point out. Continue reading

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Crucifixion and Resurrection

From The Valley of Vision

Empty TombO LORD,
I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate,
+be crucified, dead, and buried.
The sepulchre calls forth my adoring wonder,
+for it is empty and thou art risen;
+the four-fold gospel attests it,
+the living witnesses prove it,
+my heart’s experience knows it.
Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life,
+for I wish to be as dead and buried
+to sin, to selfishness, to the world;
+that I might not hear the voice of the charmer,
+and might be delivered from his lusts.
O Lord, there is much ill about me — crucify it,
+much flesh within me — mortify it.
Purge me from selfishness,
+the fear of man, the love of approbation,
+the shame of being thought old-fashioned,
+the desire to be cultivated or modern.
Let me reckon my old life dead
+because of crucifixion,
+and never feed it as a living thing.
Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour,
+to be content to be rejected,
+to be willing to take up unpopular truths,
+and to hold fast despised teachings until death.
Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained.
Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will.
Strengthen me for the battles ahead.
Give me courage for all the trials,
+and grace for all the joys.
Help me to be a holy, happy person,
+free from every wrong desire,
+from everything contrary to thy mind.
Grant me more and more of the resurrection life:
+may it rule me,
+may I walk in its power,
+and be strengthened through its influence.

The Valley of Vision is published by Banner of Truth.

May you know the blessed truth and experience the reality of Christ’s resurrection this Easter and throughout the year!



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Remembering Easter All Year Round

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing by C. J. Mahaney

crosscenteredlife“All around us we see Christians and churches relaxing their grasp on the gospel, fumbling it, and in danger of letting it drop from their hands altogether.” – John Stott


It occurred to me that this book review is quite timely as the season of Easter is upon us. While thoughts turn to Christ’s death and resurrection during this time of year, for some it’s a subject they rarely think seriously about during the rest of the year. Pastor C. J. Mahaney wrote this little book to remind Christians that the Gospel isn’t just a one-time message to bring us to faith in Christ and salvation. It’s a message to live by daily, to take us joyfully and steadily through this life and into the next. Yes, we need to share the Good News with unbelievers that Jesus died to save sinners. But after being saved, we need to continue to “preach the gospel to ourselves,” as Jerry Bridges says. Continue reading

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No one is Ordinary who serves an Extraordinary God

GodoftheMundaneThe God Of The Mundane: Reflections on Ordinary Life for Ordinary People by Matthew Redmond

“We are not saved from mediocrity and obscurity, the ordinary and the mundane. We are saved in the midst of it. We are not redeemed from the mundane. We are redeemed from the slavery of thinking our mundane life is not enough.”


The teaser on the back of this book says,

This is a book about pastors, plumbers, dental hygienists, and stay-at-home moms. It finds grace and mercy in chicken fingers, smiles from strangers, and classic films, and ultimately convicts us of something Matt Redmond has learned himself: there is a God of the mundane, and it’s not about what we do for him. It’s about what he does for us.

A Christian sister once asked me this question: “When the disciples cast lots for a disciple to replace Judas, it fell on Matthias. We don’t hear anything about him afterwards. Why do you believe that is?” After thinking about this for a moment, this was my reply: Think about this: Most of the original 12 disciples are not mentioned much outside of the Gospels. What do we hear about Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Thaddeus? Most of them didn’t go on missionary journeys or write letters that have been included in our Scriptures. We don’t really know what they did after Christ’s ascension, but we can probably assume that they plugged into a local church where they served and taught while working at a mundane, secular job, just like the typical Christian man does now Continue reading

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Fresh Views of God from Voices of the Past

ValleyofVision-BookcoverThe Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett

“The soul learns to pray by praying; for prayer is communion with a transcendent and immanent God who on the ground of his nature and attributes calls forth all the powers of the redeemed soul in acts of total adoration and dedication.”


The Valley of Vision is a collection of prayers, 195 in all, compiled by Arthur Bennett from various men from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including John Bunyan, Thomas Watson, David Brainerd, Isaac Watts, Augustus Toplady, Philip Doddridge, and Charles Spurgeon, as well as others. These short, devotional, poetic prayers are a wonderful way to start and/or end each day. They would serve well for private, personal devotions and meditation, or for family worship. Continue reading

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