God’s Glory Alone – The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life: What the Reformers taught and Why it Still Matters by: David VanDrunen

God's Glory Alone---The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life: What the Reformers Taught...and Why It Still MattersGod’s Glory Alone—The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life: What the Reformers Taught…and Why It Still Matters by David VanDrunen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Soli Deo Gloria-Glory to God alone. – It is not sufficient for anyone, and it does him no good to recognize God in his glory and majesty, unless he recognizes him in the humility and shame of the cross. Martin Luther.

The 5 sola’s of the reformed faith..
Glory to God Alone is not just Christianeeze, it is not pie in the sky, or a good ideal, it is seeing and knowing who God is in all his glory. Glory is also not an egoistical attribute that some might claim but it is the glory of God that is for our good. The beautiful sunrise this morning displays God’s glory. The mountain view, the ocean tide, – starting with creation, we all know God’s glory. God is creator and holds all together.

To better understand the 5 sola’s of the reformed faith it is the magnification of Christ, grace, faith, Scripture, and God’s glory-and these alone-suffused their theology and ethics, their worship and piety. Christ alone, and no other redeemer, is the mediator of our salvation. Grace alone, and not any human contribution, saves us. Faith alone, and no other human action, is the instrument by which we’re saved. Scripture, and no merely human word, is our ultimate standard of authority. God’s glory alone, and that of no creature is the supreme end of all things
The 5 sola’s are not independent of each other but compliment and in relationship with each other expresses the joy of our salvation and the majesty of God. It reminds us that we are not God. It keeps the focus off us and our self-glorification to proper worship with the purpose of God’s glory. “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.

The book covers what the Glory of God is and what it is not. The teaching of the great reformers of the Glory of God in salvation. What self-denial is and how narcissism ultimately not only steals glory from God but us as well. God’s glory displays all the attributes of God for our redemption in a fallen evil world. What is the Glory of God in worship and why it matters. We only have to look at Exodus to see why it matters in their exchange for God’s glory to worthless idols. It is the Glory of God that we see the good of others and serve to strengthen the church.

Some quotes that I found encouraging and helpful.

In God’s glory is our dignity. In God’s glory is our delight. Our glorification lies in ascribing all glory in heaven and earth to him.

The glory of God alone implies the right purpose of all of life-a God centered purpose. All who share this radical view of Christianity make the ultimate purpose of life God’s glory, not their own self-fulfillment or self-realization.

Worship is a distinct activity in which we set aside other tasks and set our minds and hearts fully upon the Lord in order to receive his word and to respond to him with prayer in song.

Soli Deo Gloria is about God and how he glorifies himself, but on magnificent way God glorifies himself is through glorifying us and enabling us to glorify him through faith, worship, and whole-hearted service to him and our neighbors. What a bounteous God we have who has authored this story of divine glory and invited us to be such a vital part of it-by faith alone, by grace alone, and by Christ alone.

Glory to God is not in our conduct but in our worship and prayer, we put ourselves in a great foundation of faith that we seek to live righteously. The only thing that I struggled with and by God’s grace alone, was the joy versus happiness. While reading this text, I am also reading Happiness which gives a great argument that joy and happiness are the same. I hope if you are considering reading this book you will also select this one. It goes well in giving Glory to God.

You cannot go wrong in the study of the solas. They are rich and satisfy while hungering to know more.

A Special Thank You to Zondervan Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Martyrs of Malatya by: James Wright

Martyrs of MalatyaMartyrs of Malatya by James Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The violent and untimely death of good people always raises the puzzling issue of how an all-powerful, perfectly just and fully loving God can allow such evil to continue unchecked. Was his arm too short to reach into Malatya? Is it too weak to open the eyes of Muslims to understand true nature and purpose of Jesus? To ask such questions must always lead back to the person of Jesus himself, the incarnation of that same all-powerful, perfectly just and fully loving God whom we question. God himself was brutally tortured and killed. Through Jesus, God did not only enter fully into the suffering of humanity, he upended a hopeless situation. … Turning it around completely….Turning it into a victory. Their lives were not a waste and they will bring more to faith in Jesus Christ through their deaths than they did in life.

I don’t know about you, but I question my faith all the time. I am learning to question my faith takes my eyes off the object of my faith and puts it back on me. What kind of faith does it take to die for? I do know that if I truly live out my faith, I will be able to die for my faith.

The account of three faithful men of God, Necati Aydin, Uger Yusel and Tilmann Geske were different men from different cultures and backgrounds. However, they came together for the Gospel of Christ.

As you read you will learn how they came together and how they came to the faith. I found it interesting that coming from a Muslim faith the obstacles of lies that are believed of the Christian faith and of Jesus has blinded so many Muslims. How each man’s heart broke for the people of Turkey. What motivated each man to literally give their lives to the people of Turkey? They realized that it would take a sacrificial type love for the people to open their eyes to the love of God.

This account will open any Christian eyes to the love that must displayed for the work of the Gospel.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Two Folded Gift

A two folded gift of faith and suffering is a packaged deal with true Christianity. When our lives are centered around living for Christ, we will be given the gift of faith and the other side of suffering on the flip side.

What defines suffering? Is our suffering rooted in love of the gospel? What defines faith? Is Jesus an ideal? A good man? A concept? Does Jesus become your reality as you live in your every day decisions?

Philippians 1:27-30English Standard Version (ESV)

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy[a] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have

Paul is writing to the believers not to Distort, Dismiss or Diminish the Gospel.

Our manner of life is worthy of the Gospel. This is all encompassing. This includes everything. This is all! This is a high bar of living. It is only reached by the grace of the gospel. Not by our lists of do and don’ts but applying the Gospel.

Do we live life as citizens of the Kingdom of God?   There is something better. There is something that lasts for eternity. In Jesus there is life. There is forever. There is rest.

Do we life our life reflecting our identity in Christ?   Do my decisions define who I am in Christ? Feasting on the words of God with others in community, help me in maturity in the Christian walk.

Christians must be seen and heard with the gospel in front and center. We must avoid treating others as projects.   Jesus does not make nice people but new people in the gospel.

We do not have to operate our faith out of fear. God uses our suffering to proclaim his faithfulness as we place our hope to the future.

Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo.  Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment.  Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and give us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image; through Jesus Christ in the light of the world.  Amen

The Original Jesus by: Daniel Darling

The Original JesusThe Original Jesus by Daniel Darling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Will the Real Jesus please stand up! It really does come down to the question that Jesus asked his disciples “Who do you say I am”.

That is the question we must ask ourselves as well. How we answer that question reflects if we are following Jesus or if we want Jesus to follow us…answering a prayer now and then, rescuing us from a catastrophe here and there, and helping us achieve the goals we set for ourselves. The actual living, breathing, Jesus of Nazareth doesn’t do any of that. The Original Jesus brings us to the Jesus of the bible (and that is the Old and the New Testament) and exposes what we have made Jesus into.

Ten chapters of Jesus made in our own image.

The Guru Jesus-Reveals all other titles but King and Savior. John Frame says the deity of Christ is a “pervasive doctrine of Scripture and he sums up Scripture’s claims with 3 statements.
Jesus bears divine attributes, holiness, perfect truth, wisdom, almighty power, immutability glory.
Jesus performs divine acts: creation, providence, miracles, forgiveness of sins, final judgment.
Jesus in Scripture is an object of faith and worship.

Red Letter Jesus-Jesus is more than the red letters of your bible. He is the word.

Braveheart Jesus-Jesus is more than the masculine mascot. Sanctification is our reflection of the image of God in our roles of female and male. Living out the fruit of the spirit is not gendered based but based on our gifts and where God places us.

American Jesus-When we make Jesus our political agenda instead of the gospel. We need Jesus. You need a Savior. Jesus is Lord. It is the gospel that changes and transforms communities, hearts, and marriages When it becomes about the rules that only become broken, we have lost the gospel.

Left-Wing Jesus-The social Jesus instead of the Jesus of salvation. We need the gospel and justice. It is by using our gifts to find the best ways to help others from poverty to human trafficking.

Dr. Phil Jesus-Where Jesus becomes our life coach and the gospel becomes about self-improvement instead of redemption and transformation. Where we are called from a life of idolatry instead of called to a life of comfort.

Prosperity Jesus-Pursuit of the now instead of the Kingdom to come. Pursuits that do not last instead of the pursuits that live beyond. Seek first the Kingdom of God and all shall be added. Seeking the Kingdom is God-centered, not self. What do we treasure? Pursuing the Kingdom of God leaves his people joyful instead of greedy.

Post-Church Jesus-Commitment to the church where the gospel is lived out and faith is deepened. Finding strength with other church members. Jesus will reveal the gospel within the body of the church. The church his is bride. Going to church and being a part of a community of church is surrender to the will of God. Going to church is a declaration of war. It declares that Jesus is king.

BFF Jesus-Jesus is not the buddy we have made him up to be. Have we made Jesus to familiar? Are we being fed You Can do it and a marketing pitch or do we see the gospel as more? Are we selling Jesus or proclaiming him as God. A liturgy service brings the gospel to center with a call to worship, a prayer of confession, assurance of pardon, tithes and offerings, and Eucharist. It engages all to the gospel and keeps the gospel center.

Legalist Jesus-Are we committed to Christ and the work of the Gospel or we committed to a holy lifestyle and a set of moral values? Do we live by the list or do we run do the cross? Do we justify ourselves by our own works? Because if we do, it is not the gospel and it will never be enough. Do we find worth in what we do or what Christ did and is doing?

The writing is engaging and winsome.

Be challenged with the original Jesus. He is worthy to pursue and to follow! It is a hard road (biblically speaking it is the narrow road) but it is where real joy is found.

A Special Thank You to Baker Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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God’s Gospel (Making Him Known Series) by: Jill Nelson

God's Gospel (Making Him Known)God’s Gospel by Jill Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We must always put things in the right order, and it is Truth first…the heart is always to be influenced through the understanding –the mind, then the heart, then the will…but God forbid that anyone should think that it ends with the intellect. It starts there, but it goes on. It then moves the heart and finally the man yields his will. He obeys, not grudgingly or unwillingly, but with the whole heart. The Christian life is a glorious perfect life that takes up and captivates the entire personality.

Embracing the truth of God and His will is a desire for many Christian parents for their children. This book is a tool to not only embrace that truth but how does that apply where faith can grow. Major parts of the bible from creation to the resurrection is shared in a simple terms that is applicable for a young mind to grasp. With questions, you and your child discover truth for yourself as you learn more about the Great God that loves you together. Questions like “Why is it important for God to punish sin? These questions develop critical thinking that can encourage faith to grow deeper.

This devotion is rich in theology more so than many adult devotionals. It speaks to you and not above you.

Favorite excerpts…

You See Adam and Eve-people like you and me-were created to be able to enjoy God’s world in ways that rocks and plants, and animals never could. But as much as Adam and Eve could enjoy all the wonderful things God has made, God knew that these good things could not make Adam and Eve truly happy. What gave Adam and Eve the most happiness at the “super-duper, best party ever” was being in the presence of God himself!

Cain and Abel were helpless sinners who could not fix their hearts. Could Dad and Mom help them? No. Only God, who is rich in mercy, could help them. But in order for them to be forgiven, God has decided that sinners must respond to His mercy in the right way. What is the right way? To answer that, we can look at Cain and Abel for an example.

A tool for discipleship that reveals the deeper problem of the heart that together will turn our hearts to our greater need for a Savior. I am excited for this book as I will be a grandma in March and just the importance of building a relationship on the good news of the Gospel is something I am looking forward to. I have put the rest of the series on my wish list.

A Special Thank You to P & R Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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What Are You Known For?

The problem of humanity all comes to this statement.  It is not that we lack knowledge, but we lack love.  It is not that we lack resources, but we lack love.    It is not that we lack who we know, but we lack love.

Paul was known for his zeal for the Gospel.  He was known for his love for the church.    What was the source of the passion of Paul for the church?

What was the substance of Paul’s prayer for the church of Philippi?

 

Paul and Timothy, servants[a] of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers[b] and deacons:[c]

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace,[d] both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Paul’s passion is a celebration of what God has done.  His joy had the mindset of God and his work of the Gospel.    A mindset that sees, understands and seeks God’s power and his work.

Paul’s substance of prayer was the partnership of the church.  A partnership that works together for the gospel.  A partnership that births affection.  A partnerships that develops partakers.   A partnership is the core of who God is (the triune) and is the center of Christianity.  (relationships, discipleship,)

It is in love that knowledge abounds.  The partnerships grows, where the gospel grows.  Relational problems are not a knowledge problem but a affection problem.  Where do your affections lie?  Do I get in the way of love?  Does love pit knowledge against truth?

The work of the gospel is completion that begins and ends with Jesus (vs. 5)

The work of the gospel is our affection that begins and ends with Jesus (vs. 8)

The work of the gospel is the glory of God that begins and ends with Jesus (vs. 14)

Unleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of Christ by: Eric Mason

Unleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of ChristUnleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of Christ by Eric Mason
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Specifically speaking of unleashing the transformation offered to those who follow Christ by faith-of both justification and sanctification-we must not see our journey with Jesus beginning and ending with a past moment, but as a continuous journey began by God in the gospel, sustained by God in the Gospel and completed by God in the Gospel. God both begins and ends our journey. (Phil. 1:6) We don’t do any of the above, but we must be responsible with the journey that God has begun.

Unleashing is the work of sanctification of our Christian walk. Sanctification is pursuing holiness and the impact that it has on our daily life. What does that look like? What is my responsibility? What is God’s? Is it important? To that question is say an a resounding YES! Our sanctification is our life line. Sanctification is our faith growing and it is unleashing the power of God in our life. The end result is not my glory, but God’s.

Ten Chapters you will discover your growth in sanctification starting with the Gospel. The Holy Spirit, Faith and Repentance, The word of God, Prayer, the Strongholds that hinder growth, Marriage and the local church. Each chapter is rich with the discovery of the work of sanctification. Our sanctification brings us closer to God with a heart that worships.

Several chapters went into deep word study on submission and repentance. A great insight of repentance is that it edifies the work of God in a sinner’s life. That it takes faith to walk in repentance. Submission is the key faith and is a partnership of love and the greater good. Submission is a means of grace, not destruction. I loved that!

The author got personal with his struggle of strongholds listing the different strongholds that we all struggle with. Racism is a stronghold brought on by the cultural and how it continues even today. This is an important as it stunts our growth and ability to love others. It keeps us in bondage.

With clarity and the love of the Gospel, sanctification is a doctrine that should be embraced and celebrated. This study did that!

A Special Thank You to B&H Publishing Group and Netgalley for ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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