Joel C. Rosenberg’s The Persian Gamble

519hq0wNObL.jpg

Book Review on The Persian Gamble by Joel C. Rosenberg

Will Keep You Riveted Until the Very End 

Book Reviewed by Dr. David P. Craig

I’m one of those people that is usually 10 to 15 years behind the latest fads. I’ve heard about Rosenberg’s books for years but this is my first venture with one of his books. There where five reasons why this book kept me riveted from beginning to end:

One, Rosenberg tells a great story. I’ll never understand how writers can keep several characters, places, events, going and bring them all together in the plot. Rosenberg does this as well as anyone I’ve ever read.

Second, the characters in the book are very different, unique, interesting, and draw one into the story.

Third, Rosenberg is able to write a contemporary and relevant novel without the immorality and harsh language that too often accompanies such a work of the action-thriller genre.

Fourth, you learn a lot about history, geography, weapons, warfare, etc. Rosenberg has a good handle on geopolitics and the inner and outer workings of organizations like the Mossad, C.I.A., etc.

Fifth, His book was so good – that I’m excited he’s written 14 more books with another coming out next month called Jerusalem Countdown.

In a day and age where so much of media is graphically immoral, and over the top with foul language – I am grateful for writers like Rosenberg who write well, tell a great story, and entertain without corrupting your mind at the same time. I’m looking forward to his first book and reading them in order from here on out – By the Way his first novel was the Last Jihad – which I’m starting tonight!

Jason Meyer’s Don’t Lose Heart: Gospel Hope For the Discouraged Soul

094422.jpg

A Biblical Guide For Overcoming Despair, Discouragement, and Disappointment

Book Review by David P. Craig

Jason Meyer has written a very concise, and yet helpful book for Christians who battle feeling defeated, depression, discouragement, despair, and disappointment. There are two primary reasons I would recommend this book to those who wrestle with the 5 D’s above:

First, it is thoroughly biblical. Second, it is extremely practical. In Part One: How To Fight For Sight, Meyer deals with what to do when you feel overwhelmed, defeated, and worthless. In Part Two” How To Defeat Despair he tackles what to do when your past paralyzes you; your present disappoints you; and your future scares you.

Full of biblical stories, principles, and personal illustrations Meyer gives sound pastoral advice which reminds the believer of the promises of God in the Gospel. Here are just a few of the great principles in this book to help you with the 5 D’S:

“Discouragement can be defeated only when the full truth of everything that is for us confronts and conquers the half-truth of fear and despair. When the full truth vanquishes those half-truths, our hearts will be comforted and strengthened.”

“The Bible does not pretend that the problems are not there; it simply declares that there is more to see.”

“When we see that the One [Jesus] who is for us is greater than all that is against us, our chains will fall off and our hearts will be free to hope again…Seeing the bigger picture is the key to unlocking the chains of despair.”

“Encouragement does not come from wishful thinking but from seeing the totality of truth and embracing what is truly real.”

“The bottom line in the fight for sight is this: We lose heart when we lose sight of all that we have in Jesus. When we lose sight of Jesus, we see only half the picture, we believe half-truths, and we are robbed of hope. But as believers, we are called to fight back.”

“We lose heart when we buy into the lie that our difficulties are bigger than God, and we lose the fight for sight when we fail to see God correctly. When perception and reality don’t align properly, it is easy to become discouraged.”

“To reset the scales, we must begin by repenting of our false assessment and false measures. repenting involves replacing our human-centered measurements with God-centered ones. Doing that allows us to resize the situation in light of God’s greatness. Instead of saying prayers that turn into a gripe session in which we tell God how big our problems are, we can begin to battle discouragement when we tell our hearts (and our problems) how big our God is.”

“Discouragement grows when we shrink God down to our size.”

“We can either project onto God what we think about ourselves or we can receive from God what he says about us…The opposite of projecting what we think about ourselves onto God is receiving what he says about us from God.”

“Christianity is not about bad people becoming better; it is about dead people becoming alive.”

“Remember, God did not love you and me because we were lovely. He loved us while we were still sinners—morally unlovely. Whenever you feel the talons of discouragement sinking into your heart, look to the cross and see the unchanging, unshakable, irreversible love of God as Jesus bore the burden of sin for you and suffered in your place. He was condemned so that you could be accepted. In Christ, the banner flying high over you says, ‘no condemnation’ (Rom. 8:1).”

“We won’t get to heaven because we love God with all our hearts and souls. We will make it to heaven because God loves us with all his heart and soul.”

I highly recommend this book if you need encouragement. Meyer’s exhortations are Christ-centered, theologically sound, gospel-shaped, and will help you love the Lord more for who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing in your life. You will find all of the 5 D’s mentioned above subsiding and your joy increasing – and that’s a very good thing indeed!

Help for Your Next Board Meeting -Robert’s Rules: QuickStart Guide

61aw2o0t6mL._AC_UY436_QL65_ML3_.jpg

Helpful Handbook For Implementing Robert’s Rules of Order

Book Review by David P. Craig 

Most people don’t like board or committee meetings very much for several reasons. Among these reasons are they are boring, take too long, are unorganized, inefficient, focus on problems rather than solutions, etc.

This little guide is excellent. It will help the following people immensely by making the most of your board meetings: those starting up an organization or business; those who run or chair a board or committee; those who participate on boards – whether for profit or non-profit. It’s also good for people (like me) who have started a church, a non-profit ministry, and been on various board’s for profit and non-profit organizations. It will remind you of how to effectively, efficiently, and legally run a board or committee meeting in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

The helpful chapters in this book are as following: (1) Setting up [your organization] for success; (2) Building [writing] your Bylaws; (3) Making the Most of Your Meetings; (4) The Art of Motion; (5) Ways To Create Great Committees; (6) A Parliamentary Procedure Sample [i.e. How to conduct the business of the organization]. 

Each chapter is brief – and focuses on the majors – not the minors of what you need to know and do in order to conduct an effective Board or Committee meeting. I highly recommend this great handbook as your go-to guide to start or brush up on how to have an effective Board for your organization.

How To Pray Psalm 23

547843.jpg

*How To Pray A Psalm – by Dr. Donald S. Whitney

A practical illustration from Don Whitney’s little book, Praying the Bible, using Psalm 23:

You read the first verse—“The Lord is my shepherd”—and you pray something like this:

Lord, I thank you that you are my shepherd. You’re a good shepherd. You have shepherded me all my life. And, great Shepherd, please shepherd my family today: guard them from the ways of the world; guide them into the ways of God. Lead them not into temptation; deliver them from evil. O great Shepherd, I pray for my children; cause them to be your sheep. May they love you as their shepherd, as I do. And, Lord, please shepherd me in the decision that’s before me about my future. Do I make that move, that change, or not? I also pray for our under-shepherds at the church. Please shepherd them as they shepherd us.

And you continue praying anything else that comes to mind as you consider the words, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Then when nothing else comes to mind, you go to the next line: “I shall not want.” And perhaps you pray:

Lord, I thank you that I’ve never really been in want. I haven’t missed too many meals. All that I am and all that I have has come from you. But I know it pleases you that I bring my desires to you, so would you provide the finances that we need for those bills, for school, for that car?

Maybe you know someone who is in want, and you pray for God’s provision for him or her. Or you remember some of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world, and you pray for their concerns.

After you’ve finished, you look at the next verse: “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (v. 2a). And, frankly, when you read the words “lie down,” maybe what comes to mind is simply, “Lord, I would be grateful if you would make it possible for me to lie down and take a nap today.”2

Possibly the term “green pastures” makes you think of the feeding of God’s flock in the green pastures of his Word, and it prompts you to pray for a Bible teaching ministry you lead, or for a teacher or pastor who feeds you with the Word of God. When was the last time you did that? Maybe you have never done that, but praying through this psalm caused you to do so.

Next you read, “He leads me beside still waters” (v. 2b). And maybe you begin to plead,

Yes, Lord, do lead me in that decision I have to make about my future. I want to do what you want, O Lord, but I don’t know what that is. Please lead me into your will in this matter. And lead me beside still waters in this. Please quiet the anxious waters in my soul about this situation. Let me experience your peace. May the turbulence in my heart be stilled by trust in you and your sovereignty over all things and over all people.

Following that, you read these words from verse 3, “He restores my soul.” 

That prompts you to pray along the lines of:

My Shepherd, I come to you so spiritually dry today. Please restore my soul; restore to me the joy of your salvation. And I pray you will restore the soul of that person from work/school/down the street with whom I’m hoping to share the gospel. Please restore his soul from darkness to light, from death to life.

You can continue praying in this way until either (1) you run out of time, or (2) you run out of psalm. And if you run out of psalm before you run out of time, you simply turn the page and go to another psalm. By so doing, you never run out of anything to say, and, best of all, you never again say the same old things about the same old things.

So basically what you are doing is taking words that originated in the heart and mind of God and circulating them through your heart and mind back to God. By this means his words become the wings of your prayers.

About About Donald S. Whitney

*DON WHITNEY has been Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, since 2005. Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, for 10 years. He is the founder and president of The Center for Biblical Spirituality. Don is a frequent speaker in churches, retreats, and conferences in the U.S. and abroad.

Don grew up in Osceola, AR, where he came to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. After graduating from Arkansas State, Don planned to finish law school and pursue a career in sportscasting. While at the University of Arkansas School of Law, he sensed God’s call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He then enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1979. In 1987, Don completed a Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. He earned a PhD in theology at the University of the Free State in Bloemfonteine, South Africa in 2013.

Prior to his ministry as a seminary professor, Don pastored Glenfield Baptist Church in Glen Ellyn, IL (a Chicago suburb), for almost 15 years. Altogether, he’s served local churches in pastoral ministry for 24 years.

He is the author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, which has a companion Study Guide. He has also written How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian?, Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, Simplify Your Spiritual Life, Finding God in Solitude, Praying the Bible, and Family Worship. His hobby is restoring and using old fountain pens.

Don lives with his wife, Caffy, in their home near Louisville. She teaches classes for seminary wives and is an artist, muralist, and illustrator. The Whitneys are parents of Laurelen. 

Don’s website is http://www.BiblicalSpirituality.org. He’s on Twitter @DonWhitney and on Facebook.

Wisdom On Bible Study from Dr. Timothy Keller

Keller image w outline teaching

Excellent Bible Study Help: Tim Keller said these are five questions he asks of a biblical text as he reads it for himself:

(1) How can I praise him?

(2) How can I confess my sins on the basis of this text?

(3) If this is really true, what wrong behavior, what harmful emotions or false attitudes result in me when I forget this? Every problem is because you have forgotten something. What problems are you facing?

(4) What should I be aspiring to on the basis of this text?

(5) Why is God telling me this today?

10 Commandments of Responsibility From Thomas Jefferson

Unknown.jpeg

*Wisdom From Our Third President

  1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
  2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
  3. Never spend your money before you have it.
  4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap.
  5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
  6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
  7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
  8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
  9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
  10. When angry, count to ten before you speak.

*Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd president of the United States of America – serving in this role from March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1809. He  lived a very full 83 years from 1743-1826.

A HELPFUL ACRONYM OF 7 REASONS FOR BELIEVING THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD

7 REASONS FOR BELIEVING THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD AND TOTALLY TRUSTWORTHY

ACRONYM: “H.I.S. L.A.W.S

Developed by Pastor Bob Sears

Harmony Though written over 1600 years by 40 plus authors in different locations and in 3 different languages about scores of controversial subjects, the Bible’s teachings are supernaturally harmonious from cover to cover.
Impact Countless millions of people from diverse cultures all over the world have had their personal lives changed forever for the good and found spiritual meaning in life from the message of the Bible.
Seers The Old and New Testament prophets (“seers”) spoke dozens of general and specific predictions which have been historically fulfilled. Among the most significant are Isaiah 53 (O.T) and Matthew 24 (N.T).
Longevity In spite of repeated attempts throughout history both to destroy and discredit the Bible, it still exists in virtually its original form and is still revered and circulated more widely than any other book on earth.
Accuracy The Bible’s detailed record of historical data has been repeatedly shown (by other writings and archeological discoveries) to be accurate to an exact degree. This testifies to its writers’ reliability.
Writers The biblical writers obviously meant their readers to accept their writings as a message from God (e.g.: O.T.: the repeated instances of “Thus says the LORD…” N.T.: 1 Th. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
Son of God Jesus, reported to be the authoritative Son of God by the biblical writers, plainly taught the full inspiration of both the Old and New Testaments (e.g.: O.T.: Matthew 5:17-18. N.T.: John 14:23-26, and 16:13).