Book Review: The Gospel Story Bible

Wow, I am incredibly behind in my reading. I can’t fully blame it on this, but I will try: I am reading a 17th century classic and it’s tough. It’s one of the best books I have ever read so far, but it is tough in parts, nonetheless. Every other sentence I have to read and re-read. So it is setting me back some. I will have to play catch-up here soon with my 2012 Book List. In the meantime, here is a great Children’s Bible that is worth reading DAILY with your children.

I have praised the Jesus Storybook Bible in the past. It is a great Children’s Bible and we were reading it without missing a night. Then we discovered this one and bought it for our kids for Christmas. We haven’t read the Jesus Storybook Bible since December 24th. We will return to it, when we are finished with this one. We love it and so do our children. And to be honest, the (true) stories in here are a little longer and more complex, adding in more facts and bringing in more details to each story. I would say the age recommendations on both are accurate. This one sometimes goes above my 4 year old’s head. But it also has a smattering of stories that our other Children’s Bible’s do not include, like Rahab and Ruth, for example. And it’s always nice to mix it up to keep it fresh and hold their interest.

But what I love most about this Bible isn’t the variety or the fact that we haven’t read it before. It is the Gospel-Centeredness of it (as the title would imply). Written by a Pastor, the last paragraph of every story brings it back to Jesus, salvation, Christ’s work, God’s plan. It never leaves it at David and Goliath and the author doesn’t let you put your kids to bed teaching them moralistic lessons on how to not be like Samson or how Noah was so good and that’s why God saved him but killed all the others. He brings it back to what the Bible brings it back to, what the Gospel brings it back to, and that is JESUS.

Thank God that there is yet another children’s Bible that shows Christ on every page.

Rating: A. Highly Recommended!

Title: The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments
Author: Marty Machowski
Length: 328 pages
Genre: Kid’s Bibles

Book Review: Twelve What Abouts

Whether you hold to Reformed Theology or not, this book is well worth the read. It’s super short, but straightforward. It’s not the writing itself that is compelling; There is not much lofty speech or poetic language involved. But in nineteen (short) chapters, the author humbly gives Biblically sound answers to twelve common objections raised by those who have concerns or questions about Reformed Theology or Calvinism’s position on God’s Sovereignty and Election.

If you have ever thought the doctrine of Election or Predestination was unfair or that it painted a picture of a different God than the one you know, I would advise you to do three things:

1. Pray. Admit that you have blind spots, like all of us do, and humbly ask God to reveal the truths of the Word with you. Drop fear and defensiveness and anger and ask that He may reveal what the Scriptures really say and really mean, and that you may judge all opinions, positions, and stances by Scripture alone.

2. Read Scripture like you have never read it before. Read with unbiased eyes. Read without the traditions of man’s influence upon you. Get a new bible and don’t read the notes that you have written in your old one. Read John 3:16 and direct the Greek language used therein. Read all of the passages again that have given you trouble in the past. Really study and dig in. Read someone else’s take on it, besides the commentators, theologians, or Bible teachers you already listen to or read. So read the passages used as a defense against election, and study them. Then, read passages like Acts 13:48: “As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” and Romans 9 (the whole chapter) and 2 Timothy 2:25 where it states that repentance is a gift. Read Jesus’ many words regarding election in the Gospels.

3. Read a book like this one (or this one!) Read someone’s detailed defense to objections raised.  It is helpful, even if you leave unconvinced. It is helpful to hear from “the other side.” To know, not where you think they stand, but where they truly stand. To let the words come out of their own mouths. That’s only fair, right?

Rating: A. Highly Recommended!

Title: Twelve What Abouts: Answering Common Objections Concerning God’s Sovereignty in Election
Author: John Samson
Length: (Kindle edition only)
Genre: Apologetics (of sort)

Book Review: What Did You Expect?

Despite the completely uninspiring, flashback-to-1950’s cover (which has now been redesigned for release in April), this was a seriously incredible and highly valuable book. Paul Tripp offers really wise, humble, godly, and gospel-centered advice for marriages… that is also intensely practical.

Most often I have found that marriage books to be either one or the other: very Biblically based, with 15 Scriptures on every page but lacking practical, take-home advice in a big way or not so philosophical but all practical, wreaking of pop-psychology and failing to appeal to God’s love and the Story of Redemption as it applies to our lives and relationships. Not so with this book.

For example, at one point in the book he says (I’m paraphrasing), “You don’t have a communication problem, you have a self-love problem.” He goes on to say (I’m not paraphrasing here), “It is self-love that makes you more committed to what you understand than to understanding your spouse. It is self-love that cause you not to listen well. It is self-love that makes you unwilling to wait until you are sure that you have understood your spouse. It is self-love that keeps you from viewing your spouse’s words, perspectives, desires, and opinions as valuable. It is self-love that fills your brain so full of what you think and know that you have little room for your spouse’s thoughts. It is self-love that makes you value your own way more than you value real functional understanding between you and your mate.”

See what I mean? Gospel-centered: showing that our problem is that we don’t trust in the Cross of Christ for our marriages; instead we are trusting in ourselves and loving ourselves. Jesus tells us to take up our cross, but instead we take up a sword because we’re ready to fight. And Practical: The Gospel is not some etherial thing that isn’t applicable to daily life in your marriage (though, neither does it offer Encyclopedic-type help). And it isn’t something that was just for when you became a believer; it isn’t just for getting saved, it is for living saved. So the Gospel there in a highly practical way for every day, every fight, every miscommunication, every lack of trust, every grumpy word, every personality difference and every disappointment in your marriage.

I haven’t read stacks of marriage books. But I have read a few (although, I have not yet read Mark and Grace Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” or Tim and Kathy Keller’s “Meaning of Marriage” that are on my 2012 Book List). Hands-down, I would recommend reading this one above all the others that I have read to date. If you are married, getting married, or know someone who is married, this book should have a place on your shelf (after having a place in your hands and heart). I WILL be reading it again, as it is so rich and useful for my own marriage and also for other relationships in which I need love, self-denial, communication, etc… Paul Tripp and God’s Word are presented in such a way as to humbly bring me back to the Cross.

It deserves an A+++++, truly.

Rating: A. Highly Recommended!

Title: What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage
Author: Paul David Tripp
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Marriage

Book Review: Bloodlines

I read this book at the same time as reading The Help, which was a great move. This book is as timely in 2012 as it would have been in 1800 or 1964 as our issues have only slightly improved, but haven’t been radically changed or resolved. The book is moving as it tells John Pipers personal story of the racism he carried in his heart growing up in the South.

He begins the first few chapters by discussing the two-sided coin of personal responsibility (changing your life and culture with jobs, improved morality, etc…) and structural intervention (civil rights, government, etc…) when it comes to addressing the problem in this country. He quotes many people on both sides of the responsibility fence, including Juan Williams and Bill Cosby, as well as many academics. But after discussing the very large and present problem and just what everyone thinks we should do about it, he offers one and only one solution to the Christian for dismantling racism in the heart and in the culture: the Gospel.

Some may argue that there are other solutions to eradicating racism. Some things are beneficial and can advance love and acceptance of other races. Activism, education, social awareness, diversity in our schools and neighborhoods and churches can all benefit us. But the Gospel is the only thing that can, in an instant, change a person’s hate to love.

John Piper argues for the Gospel as the answer by presenting at least 9 different ways the Gospel is powerful against racism. I’ll give you #1 as an example. The Gospel is the only thing that has power against Satan and the workings of the evil one. You and I are not stronger than he is. He loves racism, loves hatred. He wants to see races continue to be segregated and separated by hate and fear, misunderstanding and ignorance. So if we, with all of our hope and personal responsibility and all of our structural intervention, aren’t stronger than Satan, there is no way that any of our programs or attempts will eradicate anything.

Read the book for reasons #2-9 that the Gospel is powerful against this issue.

You may not think there is anything to eradicate in your life or heart. You may not see yourself as a real racist. If you are white, you are the majority (at least for now) in this country. Imagine what you would feel and live like if you moved to Nigeria. Growing up as a minority may create a different outlook, different speech in your home, etc… Ask yourself a few questions: Do you ever tell racial jokes? What would you think, deep down in your heart even, if your daughter married a black man? What if there were only African-American people on TV shows that you watched? What if you eventually are the minority in this country? These questions need to be addressed personally and then find their answer and their resolve in the Gospel.

Bloodlines is available for free in PDF from Desiring God.

Rating: A. Highly Recommended!

Title: Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian
Author: John Piper
Length: 304 pages
Genre: Spiritual Life

Fruit From the Vine: Would You Be Thankful If…

While taking a shower, I found myself complaining in my heart a little that the water wasn’t quite hot enough. It was almost there but I like the water so hot that it just about burns my skin. I then realized I was being completely fickle because a lot of the world doesn’t have hot water at an immediate turn of a knob like I do. Well, a lot of the world doesn’t even have water pumped by electricity. And a lot of the world doesn’t even have water to bathe in. Let alone, water to drink! So I began to thank God. “Thank you God for the blessing of hot water. For the blessing of water. Period.”

I began to think of something I have been sporadically doing, my thankfulness journal. Another idea that we had for our family was to make a blessing jar where everyone can add a written blessing to the jar throughout the year, reflecting on the blessing we have received from God, and then we read them at year end. These ideas are great and I think they can give you eyes to see the little things around you that are God’s blessings. They are a great remedy to a complaining spirit. However, in our egocentricity, it often stops here! We are so thankful for God’s gifts. But we forget that GOD gave them. HE is the giver and the goal and the end of all our wants.

I am concerned for myself and for many. If I didn’t have any hot water, or didn’t have any water at all for that matter, would I still be thankful? Not for God’s blessings, but for God Himself? If I were visited by trial like Job or had a thorn in my flesh the Lord would not remove, like Paul, would I still be thankful? If there was literally nothing to be thankful for in my life, would I still be thankful? Because there are many who don’t have the things I have to be thankful for… yet they are still able to thank God and are truly thankful. Because they have HIM.

I would love to use scripture to expound here. And I started to. But then I read a few pages from John Piper’s book, “God is the Gospel.” I can’t put things like Piper can. I must add his words here as they hit home for me on this Thanksgiving. In a few paragraphs, you will see how we are to regard the Gospel as the gift of God Himself over and in all His saving and painful gifts (and pleasant gifts, too):

“The gospel has unleashed the omnipotent mercy of God so that thousands of other gifts flow to us from the gospel heart of God. I am thinking of a text like Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” This means that the heart of the gospel—God’s not sparing his own Son—is the guarantee that “all things” will be given to us. All things? What does that mean? It means the same thing that Romans 8:28 means: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God takes “all things” and makes them serve our ultimate good. It doesn’t mean we get everything our imperfect hearts want. It means we get what’s good for us.

Compare this with Philippians 4:19: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Every need! Does that mean we never have hard times? Evidently not. Seven verses earlier Paul said, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger,abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (vv. 12-13).  This is amazing. God meets “every need” (v. 19).

Therefore, I have learned how to face “hunger” and “need” (v. 12). I can do “all things” through him who strengthens me—including be hungry and be in need! I conclude from this that for Christians everything we need—in order to do God’s will and magnify him—will be supplied. 

According to Romans 8:32 this was secured by the gospel. It is stated even more strikingly in Romans 8:35-37. Here the love of Christ guarantees that we will be more than conquerors in every circumstance, including the circumstance of being killed.  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Astonishing! We are more than conquerors as we are being killed all day long! So nothing can separate us from Christ’s love, not because Christ’s love protects us from harm, but because it protects us from the ultimate harm of unbelief and separation from the love of God.  

The gospel gift of God’s love is better than life. “Neither death nor life …will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39). In fact, not only can death not separate us from the love of God, it is, along with every other hardship, a gospel gift. Listen to the way Paul says it in 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, “Let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” All things are yours—including death! Death is included in our treasure chest of gifts from God through the gospel.

So in one text Paul says that we are “more than conquerors” in death. And in another text he says that all things are ours, including death. I take him to mean that because of the truths of Romans 8:28 and 8:32 God takes every hardship and makes it serve us, including death. Death is “ours”—our servant. The fact that we are “more than conquerors” means that death doesn’t just lie dead at our feet after the battle—it is taken captive and made to serve us.

And how does death serve us? How does the blood-bought servitude of death bless the children of God? Paul answers, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”(Phil. 1:21). Why is dying gain? He answers two verses later: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Being with Christ after death is “far better” than staying on earth. That is why we are more than conquerors when death seems to triumph. It becomes a door to better fellowship with Christ. 

Because of the gospel, God promises to “give us all things” with Christ (Rom. 8:32). The “all things” turns out to include not just pleasant things but terrible things like tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, and death. These are all gospel gifts purchased for us by the blood of Christ. 

Death is a gift because it takes us more quickly to the great good of the gospel—seeing and savoring the glory of God in the face of Christ. What about these other gifts—tribulation, distress, and so on? How are they benefits that are bought by the gospel? How are they part of the “all things” in Romans 8:32 and 28 and Philippians 4:13? The answer is that in the merciful sovereignty of Christ, empowered by his own blood, these sufferings accomplish the greatest good of the gospel, a more pure and authentic and deeply satisfying seeing and savoring of God in Christ. 

…This is not the design of the devil. It is the design of God. Paul’s life-threatening suffering was designed by God to keep him close to God. The aim of the gospel is not an easy life. It is deeper knowledge of God and deeper trust in God. God did not spare his own Son. Therefore all things are yours— “the world or life or death (or thorns in the flesh or life-threatening persecution) all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” These are gospel gifts because by the blood of Christ they help bring about the goal of the gospel. This goal is not our ease or wealth or safety in this age, but our dependence on Christ and our delight in his glory.”

I treasure this. My heart rests here. Not because it is easy to read or believe, but because it is true. And I am full of thanks for this Truth– whose Name is Jesus.

50 Reasons Why Christ Suffered and Died

On this very Good Friday, I want to encourage the saints by showing exactly what was done for them at the Cross.

John Piper (in the book, “Fifty Reasons Why Christ Suffered and Died“), says he “gathered from the New Testament fifty reasons why Christ suffered and died. Not fifty causes, but fifty purposes. Infinitely more important than who killed Jesus is the question: What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending his Son to die?” 

#1. To Absorb the Wrath of God

  • “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” Galatians 3:13
  • “God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” Romans 3:25
  • “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

#2. To Please His Heavenly Father

  • “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief.” Isaiah 53:10
  • “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2

#3. To Learn Obedience and Be Perfected

  • “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8
  • “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Hebrews 2:10

#4. To Achieve His Own Resurrection from the Dead

  • “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will.” Hebrews 13:20-21

#5. To Show the Wealth of God’s Love and Grace for Sinners

  • “One will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8
  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7

#6. To Show His Own Love for Us

  • “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2
  • “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
  • “[He] loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

#7. To Cancel the Legal Demands of the Law Against Us

  • “And you, who were dead in your trespasses… God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13

#8. To Become a Ransom for Many

  • “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

#9. For the Forgiveness of Our Sins

  • “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” Ephesians 1:7
  • “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

#10. To Provide the Basis for Our Justification

  • “We have now been justified by his blood.” Romans 5:9
  • “[We] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24
  • “We hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Romans 3:28

#11. To Complete the Obedience That Becomes Our Righteousness

  • “Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8
  • “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19
  • “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • “…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ.” Philippians 3:9

#12. To Take Away Our Condemnation

  • “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

#13. To Abolish Circumcision and All Rituals as the Basis of Salvation

  • “But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision…the offense of the cross has been removed.” Galatians 5:11
  • “It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.” Galatians 6:12

#14. To Bring Us to Faith and Keep Us Faithful

  • “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” Mark 14:24
  • “I will make with them an everlasting covenant…And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” Jeremiah 32:40

#15. To Make Us Holy, Blameless, and Perfect

  • “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
  • “He has now reconciled [you] in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” Colossians 1:22
  • “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7

#16. To Give Us a Clear Conscience

  • How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Hebrews 9:14

#17. To Obtain for Us All Things That Are Good for Us

  • “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32

#18. To Heal Us from Moral and Physical Sickness

  • “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
  • “[He] healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:16-17

#19. To Give Eternal Life to All Who Believe on Him

  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

#20. To Deliver Us from the Present Evil Age

  • “[He] gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” Galatians 1:4

#21. To Reconcile Us to God

  • “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10

#22. To Bring Us to God

  • “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” 1 Peter 3:18
  • “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13

#23. So That We Might Belong to Him

  • “You also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead.” Romans 7:4
  • “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • “Care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Acts 20:28

#24. To Give Us Confident Access to the Holiest Place

  • “We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus.” Hebrews 10:19

#25. To Become for Us the Place Where We Meet God

  • “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body.” John 2:19-21

#26. To Bring the Old Testament Priesthood to an End and Become the Eternal High Priest

  • “The former priests … were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them…. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.” Hebrews 7:23-27
  • “For Christ has entered … into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Hebrews 9:24-26
  • “Every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” Hebrews 10:11-12

#27. To Become a Sympathetic and Helpful Priest

  • “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

#28. To Free Us from the Futility of Our Ancestry

  • “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

#29. To Free Us from the Slavery of Sin

  • “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” Revelation 1:5-6
  • “Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.” Hebrews 13:12

#30. That We Might Die to Sin and Live to Righteousness

  • “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24

#31. So That We Would Die to the Law and Bear Fruit For God

  • “You also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” Romans 7:4

#32. To Enable Us to Live for Christ and Not Ourselves

  • “He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:15

#33. To Make His Cross the Ground of All Our Boasting

  • “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

#34. To Enable Us to Live by Faith in Him

  • “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

#35. To Give Marriage Its Deepest Meaning

  • “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25

#36. To Create a People Passionate for Good Works

  • “[He] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:14

#37. To Call Us to Follow His Example of Lowliness and Costly Love

  • “It is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly… For to this you have been called because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:19-21
  • “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Hebrews 12:3-4
  • “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

#38. To Create a Band of Crucified Followers

  • “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
  • “Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38

#39. To Free Us from Bondage to the Fear of Death

  • “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Hebrews 2:14-15

#40. So That We Would Be with Him Immediately After Death

  • “[He] died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10
  • “To live is Christ, and to die is gain… I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Philippians 1:21, 23
  • “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8

#41. To Secure Our Resurrection from the Dead

  • “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:5
  • If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11
  • “If we have died with him, we will also live with him.” 2 Timothy 2:11

#42. To Disarm the Rulers and Authorities

  • “He set aside [the legal brief against us], nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rules and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:14-15
  • “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

#43. To Unleash the Power of God in the Gospel

  • “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
  • “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

#44. To Destroy the Hostility Between Races

  • “He… has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Ephesians 2:14-16

#45. To Ransom People from Every Tribe and Language and People and Nation

  • “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

#46. To Gather All His Sheep from Around the World

  • “[Caiaphas] did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” John 11:51-52
  • “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” John 10:16

#47. To Rescue Us from Final Judgment

  • “Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:28

#48. To Gain His Joy and Ours

  • “For the joy that was set before him, [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

#49. So That He Would Be Crowned with Glory and Honor

  • “But we see… Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death.” Hebrews 2:9
  • “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” Philippians 2:7-9
  • “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12

#50. To Show That the Worst Evil Is Meant by God for Good

  • “In this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus… both Herod and Pontius Pilate along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” Acts 4:27-28

How to Hide His Word in Our Hearts

I read this post by John Piper today on DesiringGod.org about the importance of memorizing Scripture. At the end of the article, he attached a booklet entitled, “An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture.” Sounds fun, right? Well, it should because this is the single-most complete, valuable and useful resource for memorizing God’s Word that I have ever seen*!  Piper’s Twitter update said: “I wish I could persuade everyone to do this.”

Me, too.  I personally see great value and love to memorize God’s Word. To preface this, I don’t say this with any pride or exultation of myself. That being said, in the past I have memorized several books of the Bible. I say “in the past” because I haven’t done it in a while… and… today I couldn’t recite an entire book or even an entire chapter for you. I have an easy time with memorization and will go on a streak where my husband will come home and I’ll say “I memorized the rest of Ephesians today!” But then… I don’t KEEP reciting it and working on it in the months to come and so, just as with anything else, what you don’t use, you lose.

That is the reason this article is like a Godsend to me, literally. Thanks be to God for the Holy Spirit inspiration to write such a booklet. I am reading it and thinking, “I have found gold!” Really, this is how I feel. I so long to hide God’s Word in my heart and to “not let this Book of the Law depart from my mouth” but I just continue to fail at perseverance, I suppose.

I am excited to put these methods into practice… immediately!

Will you join me???

*(Another good one I have seen (though not for memorizing whole books of the Bible, but rather single verses) is the Memory Box System).