(Devotional is taken from Seasons of the Heart)

Bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. – Matthew 14:28-29

If Jesus says ‘Come!’ don’t you think you may venture? Perhaps it is night in your soul – as dark as ever it can be. It would not be so bad if you could even distinctly see the waves of the troubled sea on which you are tossing. You do not know where you are. All seems vague, uncertain, wretched, and confused. And though the Lord Jesus is very near you, though He has come you walking on the water and has said, ‘It is I, be not afraid,’ you cannot see Him, and you are not all sure it is His voice, or if He is speaking to you. So of course you are troubled. And if, in this trouble, you go on trying to steer and row for yourself, these same waves will prove themselves to be awful realities, and you will be lost in the storm.

It doesn’t not matter in the least that you cannot see, feel, hear, or distinguish anything else at all. It does not matter in the least that you feel miserable and confused and that you don’t what will come next. It does not matter in the least that you cannot exactly understand how this simply coming can result in calm, peace, safety, and finding yourself at land. It does not matter in the least that the waters are casting up all the mire and dirt of all the sinfulness of heart and life, the old sins, and the besetting sins. It does not matter in the least that all the winds of doubt seem let loose upon you, boisterous and blowing from every point to which you turn. And this – and everything else that is contrary – is only so much the more reason for the simple venture. Just only you come! And even if in the very act of coming you are afraid and think you are beginning to sink, come on with the cry, ‘Lord, save me!’ and immediately Jesus will save you; and with the strong grasp of His hand the unanswerable question will come, ‘Why did you doubt?’ He will cause you to know His hand and His might; He will save. – Frances Ridley Havergal

able faithful

(Review of Able and Faithful Ministry by James Garretson)

Samuel Miller (1769-1850) played a vital role in the formation of Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a leader involved in the plans to set up the Seminary and, a year after Archibald Alexander was appointed its first professor in 1812, Miller was inaugurated as Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government, He taught there until his death in 1850 and exercised a huge influence on Presbyterian church life in America. Prior to his teaching in the Seminary he was from 1793 a pastor in New York and so came to his professorship with twenty years of experience in the ministry.

Garretson first gives a biography of Miller and then proceeds to deal with his teaching in the area of practical theology. Sermon preparation is dealt with at length” choice of texts, style, parts of a discourse, etc.

A very interesting section is entitled ‘Ministerial Deportment and the work of the Christian Ministry’. After treating ‘Habits in the Study’, ‘The role of the Spirit and prayer’ and ‘The problems of intellectual laziness’ he comes to ‘Female society, Marriage, and More’. The book is worth buying even for this section alone. Miller noted: ‘And happy, indeed, is that minister of the gospel, who, by wisdom, fidelity, prudence, and Christian delicacy, is enabled to conciliate the esteem and to acquire and maintain the unlimited confidence of his female parishioners, and of other persons of worth of that sex, with whom he may be called in Providence to associate’. He adds, ‘The female part of every congregation have, in general, an influence, which, while it cannot be defined, cannot at the same time be resisted. And, for the most part, this influence, I believe, is as just in its ultimate award, as it is sovereign in its sway’. He deals with selecting a spouse, guarding against misunderstandings, the responsibilities of marriage and the honor due to women.

We have here a valuable book which draws the best from one of the greatest and godliest teachers of the nineteenth century in America. - Rev. William Macleod, Free Church Witness

RulesforWalkingBanner

(Taken from Rules for Walking in Fellowship by John Owen)

Show affectionate, sincere love in all things, without hypocrisy toward one another, like that which Christ showed to His church.

Proof Texts

John 15:12 – This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Romans 13:8 – Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

1 John 4:21 – And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Romans 12:10 – Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.

Explanation

Love is the fountain of all duties toward God and man (Matt. 22:37), the substance of all rules that concern the saints, the bond of communion, ‘the fulfilling of the law’ (Rom. 13:8-10), the advancement of the honor of the Lord Jesus, and the glory of the gospel. The early Christians had a proverbial speech they said Christ has given them: “Never rejoice but when you see your brother in love.” And it was common among the heathens to say concerning the early Christians, “See how they love one another!” because of their readiness to lay down their lives for their brethren. It is the fountain, rule, scope, aim, and fruit of gospel communion. Nothing will make the doctrine of the Lord Jesus more eminent than this mutual intense, affectionate love among His followers. For this He gives them innumerable precepts, exhortations, and motives, but above all, His own heavenly example.

Let us plainly affirm that if there were no other cause of reformation, the practice of this grace – which, shamefully, those who call themselves Christians have lost, to the dishonor of Christ and His gospel – would be abundantly to encourage us to undertake it, despite any obstacle.

Now this love is a spiritual grace wrought by the Holy Ghost (Gal. 5:22) in the hearts of believers (1 Peter 1:22). Love motivates their souls (1 Thess. 2:8) to seek the good of the children of God as such (Eph. 1:15; Philemon 5; Heb. 13:1), uniting their hearts with the beloved. Joy, delight, and contentment with the good of the beloved accompanies this kind of Christian love.

why christ

(Review of Why Christ Came)

Even believers who avoid any observance of Jesus’ birth in December will appreciate – and somehow sought to make use of – this little book.

Two Reformed pastors have written a collection of nearly three dozen brief meditations (three short pages each) on the reasons why the eternal Son of God became a man.

When Christmas lights brighten big city streets in Japan (a land barely 1 percent Christian) and even most unbelievers in North American exchange year-end holiday gifts and greetings, you can be sure there’s a lot of ignorance about the real meaning and importance of Christ’s birth.

Why Christ Came beautifully reflects on many aspects of the meaning and purpose of the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity – why the Word of God became human flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). These devotions cover ground familiar to mature Christians. They will refresh the minds and warm the hearts of adults, and also offer essential spiritual instruction to our children.

To whet your appetite, here are just a few of the topics covered. According to the Scriptures, Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). He came to do the will of God the Father (John 6:38), to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37), to destroy the devil and all his works (1 John 3:8), to bring great joy to the earth as well as divine judgment (Luke 2:10; John 9:39-41), and to preach the gospel (Luke 4:18, 43).

In addition, he came to earth in order to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), to die (John 12:24-25, 27), to fulfill the law and the prophets, that is, the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17), to reveal God’s love for the world (John 3:16), and to bring peace (Eph. 2:14-18) – and much more beside!

The title of this slim volume presupposes the Savior’s preexistence and the reality of God’s purpose in sending his one and only Son. Our Lord existed from all eternity in loving communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. His birth, life, death, and resurrection fulfilled God’s eternal purpose for our redemption. This is sublime truth to dwell upon and cherish.

Purchase the book for $5.00

Owen-frontRules for Walking in Fellowship

John Owen

Paperback,128 pages

Retail Price: $10.00/ Our Price: $7.50

In Rules for Walking in Fellowship, John Owen supplies struggling congregations with biblical guidelines for making church life in the present a foretaste of heavenly fellowship to come. He discusses both the responsibilities congregations have toward pastors as well as the duties members have toward one another. Together, Owen presents twenty-four rules for fostering gospel fellowship, supporting them with numerous proof texts, brief explanations, and words of motivation to keep them. His simple approach makes this book ideal for personal or small group study. Here, then, is a collection of indispensable biblical rules that will challenge Christians in any given congregation, of whatever denomination—a little gem that is at the same time doctrinal, practical, and ecumenical.

Endorsement

“Everything Owen wrote is worth reading, but some of his books are more accessible than others. This little practical treatise is a great way to meet a great Christian mind as it deals with the most basic elements of the Christian’s life in his church. I have loved reading Owen for nearly thirty years now and return to him again and again, never without profit.  Enjoy this book. And learn from it.”  — Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

J. Stephen Yuille reviews The Beauty and Glory of Christian Living.

The Beauty & Glory of Christian Living consists of the twelve addresses delivered at the 2013 Puritan Reformed Conference, an annual conference hosted by the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this book, Joel Beeke (the president of the seminary) has edited the twelve addresses, and arranged them according to three sections.

“Christian Living in Its Divine Roots”

The first section contains four chapters, considering the source of Christian living. Together, the chapters demonstrate that Christian living is rooted in Christ and cultivated by the Holy Spirit, who produces spiritual-mindedness in God’s people through the ordinary means of grace. Ian Hamilton comments, “It is the Word preached, made visible in the sacraments, applied to the life of the church, and voiced in Spirit-inspired prayer that the Holy Spirit uses to make us more like our Lord Jesus Christ” (p. 45).

When it comes to Christian living, the relationship between grace and obedience is extremely significant. If we fail to maintain the balance between the two, we create all sorts of confusion and inflict all sorts of damage. The two most common mistakes people make are as follows. Some think they can obey God without knowing His grace (which leads to moralism), while others think they can know God’s grace without obeying Him (which leads to libertinism).

This first section strikes the balance between grace and obedience, stressing the fact that we must begin with the “hidden life” (who we are) before moving to the “seen life” (how we live). As Michael Barrett remarks, “It is always the case that right thinking about the gospel produces right living in the gospel” (p. 3).

“Christian Living in Its Human Branches”

The second section contains three chapters, explaining how growth in Christ-likeness is made evident in the principal spheres of life. Chapter 5 deals with the family, specifically God’s purpose and principles for marriage, the spirit of parenting, and the tasks of parenting. Chapter 6 deals with the workplace, highlighting God’s design and desire for our particular vocations. Chapter 7 focuses on what it means to live evangelistically in a fallen world.

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Reformation Heritage Books is excited to announce the publication of the inaugural volume of a projected ten volume set of The Works of William Perkins. You can pre-order the December 17 publication.

perkinsThe Works of William Perkins fills a major gap in Reformed and Puritan theology. Though Perkins is best known today for his writings on predestination, he also wrote prolifically on many subjects. His works filled over two thousand large pages of small print in three folio volumes and were reprinted several times in the decades after his death. However, his complete works have not been in print since the mid-seventeenth century. This modern typeset edition of the Works includes four volumes of Perkins’s expositions of Scripture, three volumes of his doctrinal and polemical treatises, and three volumes of his practical writings.

The present volume contains three of Perkins’s treatises. The first is A Digest or Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament, which offers a synopsis of the Bible that relates sacred history to the chronology of the world. Dating God’s creation of the universe in 3967 BC, Perkins develops his overview of redemptive history that culminates in the final judgment.

The second treatise is The Combat between Christ and the Devil Displayed. Expounding Matthew 4:1–11, Perkins shows how Christ’s temptation in the wilderness (1) set Jesus up to serve as the second Adam, overcoming Satan’s temptation in a way the first Adam did not; (2) reveals how the devil assaults the church so that we might be better prepared to resist his temptations; and (3) equipped Christ to be a sympathetic high priest to those who are tempted.

The third and most significant treatise is A Godly and Learned Exposition upon Christ’s Sermon in the Mount. “Hereof I have chosen to entreat,” says Perkins, “because it is a most divine and learned sermon, and may not unfitly be called the ‘Key to the whole Bible’; for here Christ opens the sum of the Old and New Testaments.” The fact that Perkins saw the Sermon on the Mount as unlocking the meaning of Scripture in its entirety suggests that his understanding of what Christ declares in Matthew 5–7 was pivotal to the development of his theology and piety.

Endorsements

“On the broad shoulders of William Perkins, epoch-making pioneer, stood the entire school of seventeenth-century Puritan pastors and divines, yet the Puritan reprint industry has steadily bypassed him. Now, however, he begins to reappear, admirably edited, and at last this yawning gap is being filled. Profound thanks to the publisher and heartfelt praise to God have become due.” — J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia

“William Perkins was a most remarkable Christian. In his relatively short life he was a great preacher, pastor, and theologian. His prolific writings were foundational to the whole English Puritan enterprise and a profound influence beyond his own time and borders. His works have become rare, and their republication must be a source of real joy and blessing to all serious Christians. Perkins is the first Puritan we should read.” — W. Robert Godfrey, president, Westminster Seminary California

“Sixty years ago, hardly any Puritan books remained in print. Now, in the kindness of God and through the diligent labors of Christian scholars, we have a veritable feast of Puritan reprints to consume and enjoy. Unfortunately, the complete works of William Perkins, a foundational leader in early English Reformed orthodoxy, has not been reprinted in 379 years. Thanks to Joel Beeke, Reformation Heritage Books, and several fine editors, this is no longer the case. They have produced a new standard edition of Perkins's works, which I trust will be profitably used and enjoyed until the return of Christ.” — Justin Taylor

 

For the twentieth week commemorating our 20th anniversary, we are giving away Recovering the Gospel Series, 3 Vols.

Recovering the Gospel1. The Gospel’s Power and Message

One of the greatest crimes of this generation of Christians is its neglect of the gospel, and it is from this neglect that all our other maladies spring forth. Absent from too many pulpits are the essential themes which make up the very core of the gospel—the justice of God, the radical depravity of man, the blood atonement. In The Gospel’s Power and Message, Paul Washer addresses these essential elements of Christ’s good news and provides a guide to help us rediscover the gospel in all its beauty, scandal, and saving power. May such a rediscovery transform your life, strengthen your proclamation, and bring the greatest glory to God.

2. The Gospel Call and True Conversion

The apostle Paul gave the gospel the first place in his preaching, endeavored with all his might to proclaim it clearly, and even went so far as to pronounce a curse upon all those who would pervert its truth. Yet how sad it is that many, even among those considering themselves evangelicals, have reduced the gospel message to a few trite statements to be repeated, and view conversion as a mere human decision. InThe Gospel Call and True Conversion, Paul Washer challenges such easy believism as he examines the real meaning of things like faith, repentance, and receiving Christ. He also deals extensively with the effects of saving grace that God promises in the new covenant; namely, the creation of new hearts and new people.

3. Gospel Assurance and Warnings

It should come as no surprise that misunderstandings about the gospel message and the nature of true conversion result in a problem with genuine assurance of salvation. A pseudo-gospel of “easy believism” has led many into careless presumption, and a poor understanding of salvation has abandoned tender consciences to near spiritual despair. In Gospel Assurance and Warnings, Paul Washer shines the light of gospel hope as he cautions against the dangers of making an empty profession of faith and carefully explains from Scripture the basis for establishing and maintaining a sound assurance of faith.

Series Descriptions  

Although the Recovering the Gospel Series does not represent an entirely systematic presentation of the gospel, it does address most of the essential elements, especially those that are most neglected in contemporary Christianity. It is the hope of the author that these words might be a guide to help you rediscover the gospel in all its beauty, scandal, and saving power. It is his prayer that such a rediscovery might transform your life, strengthen your proclamation, and bring the greatest glory to God.

Author  

Paul Washer ministered as a missionary in Peru for ten years, during which time he founded the HeartCry Missionary Society to support Peruvian church planters. Paul now serves as one of the laborers with the HeartCry Missionary Society (www.heartcrymissionary.com). He and his wife, Charo, have three children: Ian, Evan, and Rowan.

Purchase the series!

why christWhy Christ Came - EBOOK

Joel Beeke and William Boekestein

Sale Price: $1.99

When thinking about Christ’s birth, we often focus our attention on Luke’s detailed gospel account. But to appreciate the main point of the story—that the eternal Son of God assumed our flesh-and-blood human nature—we need to learn from the rest of the Bible why Christ came to earth. Why did Christ come? In this book, thirty-one thoughtful meditations answer this vital question, and the answers encourage us to celebrate Christ’s birth more deeply, see more clearly how it is connected with the rest of His ministry, and recognize its importance for our lives.

developingDeveloping A Healthy Prayer Life - EBOOK

James W. and Joel R. Beeke

Sale Price: $2.99

Is your prayer life characterized by such things as sincerity, urgency, and delight? Engagement in prayer is a vital part of our communion with God, making a profound impact on our growth in grace. In this book, you will find thoughtful meditations on prayer in the life of the believer, as well as ample encouragement to cultivate this spiritual discipline in your own life. If you want to be more devoted to prayer, or simply want to assess the health of your prayer life, read this book. It provides both a helpful examination and a needed tonic for those concerned about growing in godliness.

monthMonth of Sundays - EBOOK

Glenda Mathes

Sale Price: $2.99

In A Month of Sundays: 31 Devotions for Daily Rest, author Glenda Mathes encourages us to pause our spinning thoughts and calm our fluctuating feelings as she helps us to see that we must be true Sabbath keepers, understanding that God has called us to develop daily the attitudes of worship and rest we enjoy on Sunday. With a recommended Scripture reading, a focus verse (or verses), a meditation, and questions aimed at stimulating personal reflection, each devotion guides us to experience a “month of Sundays,” as we experience a greater enjoyment of God’s gift of daily rest while we anticipate His guarantee of eternal rest.

discoveringDiscovering Delight - EBOOK

Glenda Mathes

Sale Price: $3.99

Newest Addition to the Series!

Does the concept of loving law sound strange to you—like two things that just don’t go together? Christians today often don’t want to read about law because they would rather revel in gospel and grace. Yet the Bible clearly links law with love, a connection we see in Psalm 119. In these insightful meditations, author Glenda Mathes sheds light on this “long psalm that often gets short shrift.” A closer look at Psalm 119, in particular, and several other psalms and Old and New Testament passages encourages readers to discover the delight of God’s written Word and rejoice in loving His law.

foundationReviews are taken from the Cross Focused Reviews Blog Tour. 

“I recommend this book to anyone wanting to be introduced to the writings of John Owen.”
Reviewer: Shawn Covington

“This volume is a welcome introduction to the thought and works of one of the giants of theology.”
Reviewer: Josh Skinner

“I highly recommend this book for all Christians.”
Reviewer: Beth Saathoff

“I urge you to pick up this volume and sit at the feet of an old master and grow to love the depths and the riches of our Triune God.”
Reviewer: Doug Newell

The Foundation Of Communion With God is a rich introduction to John Owen and the understanding of our communion with God.”
Reviewer: Lesley Eischen

“This book made me want to read more of John Owen.”
Reviewer: Jim Lee

“If you ever thought John Owen would be wonderful but beyond you – too rich, too much, too dense, too hard – get this book.”
Reviewer: Alan Davey

“I think anyone who reads this book will see the benefits of reading the works of Owen and will no doubt want to take up and read more and more of his works.”
Reviewer: Anthony Mathenia

See more detail about The Foundation of Communion with God here -->