Book Review: When Trouble Comes

BLOG When Trouble Comes

In When Trouble Comes, Philip Ryken focuses on the topic of troubles in our daily lives and how Christians are to respond when times of suffering and pain arise. The main thesis is that we can find comfort and refuge in Christ when we face the troubles of this life. Although we may be neck-deep in tribulations, we can find assurance and relief in Christ as the One who upholds us without fail. In the book, Ryken draws from the experiences of eight biblical characters including Isaiah, Elijah, Ruth, David, Jeremiah, Mary, Jesus, and Paul and how they responded when troubles arose. In each of these examples, the underlying theme is that we are to bring our tears, fears, and burdens to God who is always ready to forgive, restore, and transform us in and through our tribulations. Furthermore, Christians are to expect troubles to occur as Jesus warned His disciples in John 16. However, in the same passage, Jesus also encourages the disciples to take heart as He has overcome the world. When we are facing the rising tides of financial difficulty, deteriorating health, and work challenges, we can find comfort in Him who has conquered the world and reigns forever. Throughout the book, Ryken writes as a fellow sufferer and is empathetic to readers who are suffering in their own lives. Moreover, the author intricately dissects and analyzes the emotions and feelings of the biblical characters allowing us to see that even the giants of faith had their times of grief and powerlessness. At the end of the book, the publisher includes a study guide which allows for further reflection on the material presented in each chapter.

I would recommend this book to all Christians as Ryken rightly reminds us that troubles will indeed come. Though we do not look forward to times of suffering and grief, reality informs us that we are in a fallen world. Moreover, as followers of Christ, trials and tribulations are promised to occur so we are wise to prepare ourselves accordingly. Ryken reminds readers that the God we trust is gracious, loving, and able to sustain us through life’s sufferings. Thus, when troubling times come, we should not hesitate to take our troubles to Him in prayer and rely on His grace to carry us through.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a free review copy of this book from Crossway.

 

Book Review: A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament

BLOG A Biblical Theological Introduction

In A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, the entire Old Testament canon is summarized and presented in a cohesive manner that highlights and links the underlying themes found in each book. Each chapter is written with the same basic elements including an introduction, background issues, structures, themes, and New Testament linkages. As a whole, each contributor offers fairly balanced viewpoints and allows room for uncertainties such as variations amongst manuscripts and discrepancies in interpretations. Moreover, despite being written by a number of scholars, there is obvious unity in terms of the structure and style of each chapter which is evidence of the valiant efforts of the publishing and editorial teams involved. This allows the reader to engage the material presented without experiencing abrupt changes in tone, writing style, and approaches while still preserving the uniqueness of each contributor. The intended audience would be laypeople, students, and pastors looking for a general overview of the different books of the Old Testament. Thus, those who are looking for a more in-depth analysis would need to consult other sources, many of which can be found in each chapter’s bibliographies and footnotes.

I would highly recommend this book to Christians who are eager to learn more about the Old Testament. Even though the book functions more like a handbook or textbook, the material is presented in a concise and unified manner that allows for devotional or bedside reading. I especially appreciate the New Testament linkages in each chapter as it reminds readers that the Old Testament is inextricably tied to the New Testament as the whole counsel of God. The books of the Old Testament foreshadow the good news that is found in the New Testament of which Christ is the ultimate fulfillment. Christians today often minimize the importance of the Old Testament in favour of the New Testament dismissing the former to be irrelevant and incomprehensible. However, both parts make up the written Word of God and Christians need to be immersed in both in order to properly worship, praise, and glorify God.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a free review copy of this book from Crossway.

Poythress on Progressive Revelation

“So no simple formula is going to provide all the answers to interpreting
divine communication at earlier and later times. The most
basic principle is the principle of knowing God. God is deep, infinitely
deep. Is he also inaccessible? No. God made us and has come
to us to save us in Christ. His words are therefore accessible through
the mediation of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit—the Spirit
of Christ whom the ascended Jesus has poured out on his people
(Acts 2:33). Knowing God is truly the path of ‘the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full da’” (Prov 4:18). Or, as
Jesus says, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to
the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).”

Vern Poythress in Seeing Christ in All of Scripture

Book Review: Act Like Men

BLOG Act Like Men

In Act Like Men, James MacDonald focuses on 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 as the basis for establishing what biblical manhood should look like. The book is organized as a forty day devotional separated in five large sections namely “Act like Men”, “Stand Firm in the Faith”, “Be Watchful”, “Be Strong”, and “Do Everything in Love.”  Each section consists of eight chapters representing different angles in approaching each topic. The chapters are fairly short and contain practical illustrations from the author’s personal life and ministry along with Scriptural texts that bring clarity to the topic. At the end of each chapter, there are several thought-provoking questions and a prayer that helps readers ruminate on what was taught.  The book’s main thesis is that biblical manhood can only be achieved by relying on the triune God for strength. Otherwise, our feeble attempts to take charge in leading at home, work, or church will end up in disappointment and failure. MacDonald’s advice and reminders are helpful and pragmatic allowing readers to resonate with what is being taught and how it can be implemented in everyday life. Although the book is fairly readable to a wide audience, I found MacDonald’s writing style to be slightly disorganized at times and somewhat repetitive. This however may be due to the fact that the material is largely based on past Act Like Men Conference talks. As a whole, the book is able to clearly lay out essential elements of biblical manhood that Christian men need to reflect and act upon.

I would recommend this book to Christian men looking for an accessible devotional on biblical manhood. Although there are Christian men who strive to be faithful husbands, fathers, and servants of God, many more are often passive, disinterested, or powerless in living faithfully to God’s call. MacDonald’s book is a timely reminder for men to realize the immense responsibility, duty, and privilege that God has given to men. The key to practicing biblical manhood lies not in doing more by our own power or initiative but to constantly seek God’s power in order to live according to His ways. May God empower and embolden more men to rise up and lead their families, churches, and communities for His glory.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Moody Press in exchange for a book review.

Book Review: I Believe in Jesus

BLOG I Believe in Jesus

In I Believe in Jesus, John MacArthur presents the gospel in an easily understandable way that is suitable for young children. The purpose of the book is to help children grasp the fact that they are sinners in need of a Saviour. The book begins with how God created everything good until sin tarnished God’s creation resulting in Adam and Eve’s banishment from the Garden of Eden. In the same way, we are also unable to enter into God’s presence and need to be redeemed by the One who is perfect in every way. The story then shifts to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ as the answer to how we can be made right with God thereby allowing us to enter into eternity with Him. In the last part, young readers are invited to believe and receive Christ and to live a godly life through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. In essence, this book is a very accessible tool for parents and adults to help explain to young children their need for Christ. Although the vocabulary is simple, the author is careful not to water down essential truths such as the Trinity by integrating these doctrines intricately into the material. In addition, children will be captivated by the beautiful illustrations along with applicable Bible verses that help solidify what is being taught.

I would gladly recommend this book for parents and adults who want to teach the gospel story to young children. MacArthur is able to introduce the critical elements of the gospel in a simple yet doctrinally sound manner that will help children come to realize their need for a Saviour. Even adults will benefit from hearing and learning the gospel message again as we constantly need to be reminded of our dependence on Christ each day of our lives.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a book review.

Book Review: Renovate

BLOG Renovate

In Renovate, Léonce Crump challenges readers to rethink how Christians are to view and interact with the world. Crump points out that many Christians tend to see culture as being beyond repair and slated for destruction. Contrary to such a view, the author points out how Scripture shows God as intending to redeem and re-create the present world into a new heaven and new earth. When we become mindful to this fact, we come to understand that Christians are commissioned by God to actively transform culture and society. Thus, Christians are to be the agents of change wherever God has placed them. Furthermore, Crump emphasizes that the neighbourhood that we find ourselves in is the primary location for us to renovate culture with the good news that we bear. To illustrate how cultural renovation occurs, Crump recollects his personal experience in attempting a few church plants in Atlanta over a span of several years before he was able to establish the church that he currently pastors. Although the conflicts primarily revolve around the racial divide in Atlanta, the underlying message of pursuing intentional gospel change over a prolonged period of time is applicable to every local community we find ourselves in. The author is fairly honest in sharing the struggles he faced in displaying Christ in an environment that is hostile to the gospel and encourages readers to work diligently towards cultural renewal through intentional living.

I would recommend this book to every Christian looking to see gospel transformation in their local area. Although I may not be able to completely relate to the racial tensions described in the book, every local community has specific needs that Christians are to be attentive to in their attempts to engage culture. Instead of viewing culture as something to be shunned altogether or to be forcefully changed according to our own preferences, the author reminds readers that changing a community may require many years of effort, service, and humility. It is only through a lifetime of exhibiting Christ diligently in every aspect of one’s life along with the transforming power of the Holy Spirit will cultural renovation take place in anticipation of Christ’s return.

In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from The Crown Publishing Group in exchange for a book review.