Book Review: Daniel: Godly Living in a Hostile World

Daniel: Godly Living in a Hostile World

Author: William Burnett
ISBN: 9781897117736
Pages: 85

Mr. Burnett does not present your average book on Daniel. He purposefully delves into the rich character of Daniel and his friends, with applications to our lives today. He gives a clear and conscise introduction of the historical aspect of Daniel then goes on to cover in detail the first ten chapters. Many of the chapters have a helpful summary at the end to review the main points given. This book brings out beautiful examples of a man dedicated to God that will be an encouragement and a challenge to any reader. It is well written, in a style that is very comfortable.

Daniel: Godly Living in a Hostile World is an encouragement and a challenge. Throughout his life, Daniel exemplifies what a true believer ought to be, completely reliant on God. He goes through many situations where his life for the Lord is made obvious. While the book covers many topics, such as trusting God, standing for truth, trials, value of a testimony, prayer and evangelism, here are a few of my favourite:

However, like Joseph, Daniel and his companions had a firm grasp of the sovereign ways of God, and, despite the situation and its complexities, he refused to compromise his faith. He acted in Babylon as he would have acted under better circumstances in Jerusalem (pg.23).

Sadly, standing for truth has often been done in a wrong spirit. Many Christians have felt that being severe, surly and uncooperative is part of the requirement, and that this is the manner in which to face the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need to develop good relationships with our colleagues at work, and with our unsaved friends and neighbours, without compromising our faith, so that when we are against the wall and needing some elbow room, they will give it to us. Daniel was able to persuade Melzar, whose life incidentally was on the line in this matter, to allow him a ten-day testing period of abstaining from the king’s meat. Daniel was granted his request because Melzar had come to love him. So we must conduct ourselves in a manner that will attract people, and earn a character credit rating that will stand us in good stead when it comes to spiritual challenges (Pg. 24).

Daniel believed that God was sovereign, and that this crisis was a time of opportunity rather than a disaster, and he did not panic (pg. 28).

While this book has much to recommend it there is one item I didn’t  agree with. Mr. Burnett includes his personal convictions regarding music. I agree with some of what he said regarding secular music, and the dangers thereof, but cannot agree with the whole of his statements.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it for others. There are many situations that arise in our lives that I think Daniel would have handled well. We have much to learn from his life of service to God. He stayed humble despite his elevated status, was wholly dedicated to his God, and communed with God closely. This book shows that indeed “there is no new thing under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9) and God is still in control.

Danielle Robins

Book Review: The Fruitful Vine: a Celebration of Biblical Womanhood

Book Review: The Fruitful Vine: a Celebration of Biblical Womanhood
By: Warren Henderson

“Books like this by a present day author are few and far between, written in a refreshingly clear way, and with a clear directive contrary to that in which the feminist movement has taken society. Because it is all too easy for believers to be swayed in their thinking by this movement and its prevalence in the western world, this treatise on womanhood as taught in the Scriptures is essential reading for today’s women and men.

The author skilfully explores the different roles of women, whether single (by choice or by circumstance) or married, mothers or grandmothers, widows young or old. Sound scriptural advice is given for each situation. Using the figure of the Fruitful Vine (Ps 128.3, with cognate verses from The Song of Solomon), the beauty and honour of marriage is described, from the industrious to the intimate, from the everyday things to the special occasions which family life contains. Whilst focused on the role of the wife, the role of the husband is constantly called into the foreground, for it is (correctly) argued that the one cannot be fulfilled without the other.

In the Preface, the position is taken that biblical manhood advocates biblical womanhood; or put in more everyday terms, “an ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband”. The treatment of this subject is both doctrinally sound and practically orientated. The permanence of the marriage bond, the truth of headship and its consequences in the home and in the assembly, the necessity for complete fidelity and confidentiality in marriage are each stressed.

Problem areas like marital satisfaction and how to promote it, disagreements and how to resolve them, love and how to keep it fresh, gossip and how to avoid it (the author calls it sin), are all explored in detail, as is some very practical advice about the smooth, economical, responsible running of the home which is where the woman’s best influence lies. Readers outside of the USA where the book originated may find some of the details less appropriate, but the overall message is very important and applies everywhere.

Sin has invaded every realm of society, marriage included, but its effects can be controlled by the application of the Word of God, which is what this book successfully attempts to do. If read and its message heeded, it will be an asset in every young believer’s marriage, and every older one’s too. The men as well as the women should read it.”

~ This book review originally published in Believer’s Magazine Feb 2007 , written by RWC

Book Review: Passing The Torch

Book Review: Passing The Torch
By: Warren Henderson

“Subtitled Mentoring the Next Generation for Christ, the subject of this book is clear although the word mentoring may be less familiar to UK readers. It focuses on the importance of what Paul wrote to Timothy long ago about “teaching others also” (2 Tim 2.2), and it does this very well indeed.

The first chapter uses the familiar Olympic torch idea: “passing the torch” means to transfer responsibility to someone else. Every Christian is to be a beacon of truth during their lifetime, and all are also called to pass the torch to the next generation. But “how does one motivate younger believers, especially our own children, to catch the vision and be sold out for Christ?”

The latter half of the book tackles this question in a clear, inspiring and very readable way. Stimulating younger people, especially teenagers, Bible study and resources to help, training in godliness, and participation in all assembly activities are each described with good examples given. Responsibilities of both the mentor and the mentee (unusual word? but you get its meaning!) are well set out: for the mentor – be available, be willing, be accountable, be an example; the case of Elisha with Elijah is used to make some excellent points for the mentee to heed.

The earlier half of the book describes in some detail what is to be passed on, and why. In its own right this is worth reading and heeding, very relevant to the needs of assemblies today, totally Scriptural, absolutely clear, and a good reminder to us all. Here are some subheadings: divine truth is immutable; grace and truth are inseparable; meeting with believers is essential. The church has a threefold ministry: exaltation of the Lord, edification of believers, evangelism of the lost. A chapter called “A Pattern to Follow” describes both the expression and the distortion of salient NT truths such as – Christ the Head of the church; unity of all believers; priesthood of all believers; plurality of leadership; sanctity of the genders; the great commission.

Near the end of this highly recommended book is a challenge: “The church needs … those with ability and discernment to shun the limelight in order to invest time with those who need to learn sound doctrine, and to become aware of their calling in Christ”.”

~ This book review originally by Believer’s Magazine : February 2015 – written by RC

Book Review: Hallowed Be Thy Name

Hallowed Be Thy NameBook Review: Hallowed Be Thy Name
By: Warren Henderson

“This book focuses on the subject of “revering Christ in a casual world”. The first chapter addresses the question, “What’s in a Name?”. The author stresses the significance attached to personal names in the Bible since “a name reveals not just the identity of a person but also their features and character”.

The various names and titles of God, as found in the Scriptures, are considered. This is followed by an examination of the third commandment, where the reader is reminded of just how serious an offence it is to God when His name is used lightly.

The question is then asked, “Can a Christian blaspheme God?”. An in-depth study of the word “blasphemy” is conducted and it is claimed that “in one form or another, we often unconsciously demean God’s name”. Not only does the author urge us not to speak blasphemy but “not to live blasphemy either (Jas 2.7)”. He appeals that all conduct which would cause others to blaspheme the name of the Lord, be avoided. “Loss of reverence for the Lord’s name has degraded the name of Christ throughout the world”.

Having highlighted the dangers of treating the Lord’s name with disrespect, instruction is then given as to a right use of the Lord’s name. In the chapter entitled, “The Blessings of the Lord’s Name”, the following pertinent points are developed: To pray in His Name; To proclaim His Name; To suffer for His Name; To gather in His Name. This is only a selection. You can relish the rest when you purchase the book!

Hallowed Be Thy Name concludes with six practical suggestions as to how a believer can sanctify the Lord’s great name. Advice is also given on how to respond when the Lord’s name is blasphemed and there is an extensive sixteen page appendix of “Names and Titles of Christ”.

If you are seeking guidance as to how you can glorify the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ in daily living, this book will certainly provide both challenge and encouragement that will prompt you to exclaim, “Hallowed be Thy Name!”.”

~ This book review originally by Believer’s Magazine : October 2007 – written by AC

Book Review: The Life of David Brainerd

Life of David Brainerd CLASSIC BIOGRAPHY SERIESThe Life of David Brainerd
By: Jesse Page

“Why did John Wesley say “Let every preacher read carefully over the life of David Brainerd”? The reader of this addition to the Classic Biography Series will quickly discover the answer to this question.

David Brainerd was often depressed and downcast, and seldom, if ever, happy with his own spiritual state. He constantly battled severe ill health and loneliness. It was among the Indians of Crossweeksung (now Crosswicks, New Jersey) that he first saw his prayers answered in a way that simply amazed him. He was astounded to find that the “hearts of these Indians were melted by the love of Jesus” rather than the terrors of judgment. Converts were gathered to form a local church of which he said “I know of no assembly of Christians where there seems to be so much of the presence of God, where brotherly love so much prevails, and where I should so much delight in the public worship of God, in general, as in my own congregation; although not more than nine months ago, they were worshipping devils and dumb idols under the power of pagan darkness and superstition. Amazing change this! Effected by nothing less than divine power and grace!” By the end of 1747, 29 years of age and less than four years after his life’s work began, David Brainerd was called Home, a victim of tuberculosis. His last words were “I shall soon be in glory, I shall soon glorify God with the angels!”

Every Christian who, conscious of weakness, desires to serve God more effectively, should heed John Wesley’s counsel.”

~ Book review originally published by Believer’s Bookshelf (June 2017) and written by Alan Wilson

Book Review: Escape from the Island of Occupation

Escape from the Island of Occupation (Children Fiction)Escape from the Island of Occupation
By: Robert Plant

Set in the island of Jersey during the early days of World War II, the story centres around a plot to capture Hitler on his first visit to the island after the German occupation. A young lad called Jerry, and his female accomplice, learn of this and decide to inform the British authorities 100 miles away across the Channel in the hope of ending the misery of the war and its effects on the island – but how? Some older people are enlisted to help with a boat and its equipment, there is an old outboard motor involved which eventually fails, a shipwreck, and a near-fatal landing on a mined beach, followed by a journey to Whitehall to brief the top brass, then an anticlimax! At times it is breathtaking, and you want to read on!

The story is well written in a style suitable for 7-11 year olds, but perhaps it matches better the interests of early teens; indeed, adults too will find it an absorbing and enjoyable read. The author makes good use of his knowledge of the geography of Jersey and its people, but the best thing about this book, from a Christian viewpoint, is how the Gospel message is so effectively woven into the story, seamlessly and gradually. Starting from a base of unfamiliarity with the Bible and no awareness of God, the storyline introduces the need for salvation and how it can be found through faith in Christ alone.

~ Book review Originally Published by Believer’s Bookshelf (June 2017) and written by Bert Cargill

** Also available: Return to the Island of Occupation

Book Review: Chitokoloki – Celebrating a Century of the Lord’s Work in North-western Zambia

Book review by Esther Scarsbrook

This is an interesting and informative book, written by Alma Turnbull, recording how the Lord has worked in a mighty way in a settlement on the banks of the Zambezi River called Chitokoloki. The remarkable story commences in late 1913 when three faithful men – Mr. Frederick Arnot, Mr. T. Lambert Rogers and Mr. George Suckling heeded God’s call and established a ministry in an area of Zambia yet to be reached with the gospel.

This beautifully illustrated book uses many photographs, historical accounts and documents spanning 100 years of service in order to bring the story to life for readers who have never experienced what it would be like living and working in such a region of Africa. There is a helpful map which can be used to locate the places referred to, and a chronological index of missionary workers to help readers understand where and when the workers fit into the history. My only slight criticism of the book is that it would have been nice if all the photographs came with a brief description.

The author sets the scene well and then focuses on the mission station and its workers, the advance in education, the spread of the gospel and the teaching of God’s Word. A large proportion of the book records the development of the medical work from a small hospital with few patients to a fully fledged  hospital with modern equipment capable of conducting major surgical operations, interspersing this with touching accounts and testimonies of individuals whose lives were changed both physically and spiritually.

What makes this book interesting and challenging is the thread that runs throughout – God is faithful! Yet the reader is caused to stop and appreciate the remarkable nature of events that are recorded so simply. There is a good balance between the joys of being involved in such a work and the heartaches, difficulties and at times seemingly inexplicable circumstances that have been faced along the way.

Alma Turnbull gives a clear insight into the work that has been done but when reading this book it needs to be remembered, this is an ongoing work. It is also likely that this book will leave you challenged, to quote Gordon Hanna speaking at a graveside in Chitokoloki, ‘what is important is not the quantity of our life but the quality- not how long we spend here on earth, but what we do with the time God has given us’.

This book is available at https://gospelfolio.com/product/chitokoloki-celebrating-a-century-of-the-lords-work/

New William MacDonald Reprint – True Discipleship with Study Guide

true-discipleship-2016_covTrue Discipleship, a much loved and much read book over the years, has a brand new look. We are excited to let you know that we have the new book in stock and are all set to ship out well in time for the holiday season.  Recently, the question was posed on Facebook, “What single book besides the Bible has impacted your life the most?” True Discipleship was one of the top books mentioned.

Below is Chapter 1 for you not only to enjoy, but to be challenged by as well.

1. TERMS OF DISCIPLESHIP

True Christianity is an all-out commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Saviour is not looking for men and women who will give their spare evenings to Him—or their weekends—or their years of retirement. Rather He seeks those who will give Him first place in their lives.

He looks today, as He has ever looked, not for crowds drifting aimlessly in His track, but for individual men and women whose undying allegiance will spring from their having recognized that He wants those who are prepared to follow the path of self-renunciation which He trod before them.¹

Nothing less than unconditional surrender could ever be a fitting response to His sacrifice at Calvary. Love so amazing, so divine, could never be satisfied with less than our souls, our lives, our all.

The Lord Jesus made stringent demands on those who would be His disciples—demands that are all but over-looked in this day of luxurious living. Too often we look on Christianity as an escape from Hell and a guarantee of Heaven. Beyond that, we feel that we have every right to enjoy the best that this life has to offer. We know that there are those strong verses on discipleship in the Bible, but we have difficulty reconciling them with our ideas of what Christianity should be.

We can accept the fact that soldiers give their lives for patriotic reasons. We do not think it strange that Communists or Muslims give their lives for political or religious reasons. But that “blood, sweat, and tears” should characterize the life of a follower of Christ somehow seems remote and hard to grasp.

And yet the words of the Lord Jesus are clear enough. There is scarcely any room for misunderstanding if we accept them at their face value. Here are the terms of discipleship as laid down by the Saviour of the world:

A SUPREME LOVE FOR JESUS CHRIST
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). This does not mean that we should ever have animosity or ill-will in our hearts toward our relatives, but it does mean that our love to Christ should be so great that all other loves are hatred by comparison. Actually, the most difficult clause in this passage is the expression, “yea, and his own life also.” Self-love is one of the most stubborn hindrances to discipleship. Not until we are willing to lay down our very lives for Him are we in the place where He wants us.

DENIAL OF SELF
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross…” (Matt. 16:24). Denial of self is not the same as self-denial. The latter means foregoing certain foods, pleasures, or possessions. But denial of self means such complete submission to the lordship of Christ that self has no rights or authority at all. It means that self abdicates the throne. It is expressed in the words of Henry Martyn, “Lord, let me have no will of my own, or consider my true happiness as depending in the smallest degree on anything that can befall me outwardly, but as consisting altogether in conformity to Thy will.”

My glorious Victor, Prince divine,
Clasp these surrendered hands in Thine;
At length my will is all Thine own,
Glad vassals of a Saviour’s throne.
—H. G. C. Moule

A DELIBERATE CHOOSING OF THE CROSS
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross…” (Matt. 16:24). The cross is not some physical infirmity or mental anguish; these things are common to all men. The cross is a pathway that is deliberately chosen. It is, as C. A. Coates put it, “a path which so far as this world goes is one of dishonor and reproach.” The cross symbolizes the shame, persecution, and abuse which the world heaped on the Son of God, and which the world will heap on all who choose to stand against the tide. Any believer can avoid the cross simply by being conformed to the world and its ways.

A LIFE SPENT IN FOLLOWING CHRIST
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). To understand what this means, one need simply ask himself, “What characterized the life of the Lord Jesus?” It was a life of obedience to the will of God. It was a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a life of unselfish service for others. It was a life of patience and longsuffering in the face of the gravest wrongs. It was a life of zeal, of expenditure, of self-control, of meekness, of kindness, of faithfulness and of devotion (Gal. 5:22-23). In order to be His disciples, we must walk as He walked. We must exhibit the fruit of Christlikeness (John 15:8).

A FERVENT LOVE FOR ALL WHO BELONG TO CHRIST
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). This is the love that esteems others better than oneself. It is the love that covers a multitude of sins. It is the love that suffers long and is kind. It does not parade itself, is not puffed up. It does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Without this love, discipleship would be a cold, legalistic asceticism.

AN UNSWERVING CONTINUANCE IN HIS WORD
“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). For real discipleship there must be continuance. It is easy enough to start well, to burst forth in a blaze of glory. But the test of reality is endurance to the end. Any man who looks back after putting his hand to the plow is not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Spasmodic obedience to the Scriptures will not do. Christ wants those who will follow Him in constant, unquestioning obedience.

Keep me from turning back.
The handles of my plow with tears are wet,
The shears with rust are spoiled, and yet, and yet,
My God! My God! Keep me from turning back.
—Author Unknown

A FORSAKING OF ALL TO FOLLOW HIM
“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). This is perhaps the most unpopular of all Christ’s terms of discipleship, and may well prove to be the most unpopular verse in the Bible. Clever theologians can give you a thousand reasons why it does not mean what it says, but simple disciples drink it down eagerly, assuming that the Lord Jesus knew what He was saying. What is meant by forsaking all? It means an abandonment of all one’s material possessions that are not absolutely essential and that could be used in the spread of the gospel. The man who forsakes all does not become a shiftless loafer; he works hard to provide for the current necessities of his family and himself. But since the passion of his life is to advance the cause of Christ, he invests everything above current needs in the work of the Lord and leaves the future with God. In seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, he believes that he will never lack food and clothing. He cannot conscientiously hold on to surplus funds when souls are perishing for want of the gospel. He does not want to waste his life accumulating riches that will fall into the devil’s hands when Christ returns for His saints. He wants to obey the Lord’s injunction against laying up treasure on earth. In forsaking all, he says with David Livingstone, “It’s a pity I don’t have more to give.”

These then are the seven terms of Christian discipleship. They are clear and unequivocal. The writer realizes that in the act of setting them forth, he has condemned himself as an unprofitable servant. But shall the truth of God be forever suppressed because of the failure of God’s people? Is it not true that the message is always greater than the messenger? Is it not proper that God be true and every man a liar? Should we not say with an old worthy, “Thy will be done though in my own undoing”?

Confessing our past failure, let us courageously face up to the claims of Christ upon us and seek from this moment on to be true disciples of our glorious Lord.

My Master, lead me to Thy door:
Pierce this now willing ear once more.
Thy bonds are freedom; let me stay
With Thee to toil, endure, obey.
—H. G. C. Moule

¹H. A. Evan Hopkins, Henceforth, Chicago: IVF, 1954, p. 20.

True Discipleship is available here.

Book Review: Precious Seed 70th Anniversary Edition

Precious Seed 70th Anniversary Edition of Volume 1Precious Seed 70th Anniversary Edition

“This well presented book incorporates scanned copies of the Precious Seed Magazines from their inception in September 1945 to the May-June 1948 issue. It is attractively bound and the front cover is a copy of the 1945 original, meticulously reproduced in colour by artist Katie Piper (nee Smith).

The names of committee members and contributors will no doubt stir many memories for older readers who remember the ministry of men such as W. E. Vine, W. Trew and J. M. Davies. The Readers’ Questions in each issue are answered by E. W. Rogers, with many most appropriate to the present day. The reports of Gospel Work are particularly interesting. The numbers attending tent meetings and other outreach work are at times quite staggering, when compared with the relatively few who show any interest in the gospel in our day, despite genuine effort and prayerful concern on the part of many believers. A further point of interest to note is the number of assemblies mentioned, and apparently thriving, just seventy years ago, but which are now no longer in existence or greatly reduced numerically.

The March-April 1947 issue highlights the decline of sound biblical teaching in schools. To seek in some way to address this problem, a magazine page was dedicated to teaching for children. The trustees enlisted the help of two public school teachers to undertake this responsibility. With teaching for younger children and those through teenage years, this has developed into the Young Precious Seed published in the current magazines.

The articles reproduced cover a wide range of teaching from both Old and New Testaments, remaining consistently faithful to the stated purpose of Precious Seed as being to encourage the study of the scriptures, the practice of New Testament church principles and interest in gospel work.

Whether reading through or just ‘dipping in’, this book is far more than a window on a bygone age, more an encouragement to all believers that we have before us in our day an open door.”

~ This book review was originally published in Precious Seed (2016, Vol. 71, Issue 3), written by John Scarsbrook.

Book Review: Aletheia Adventure Series – The Rescue of Timmy Trial (Book 1)

Rescue of Timmy Trial (Aletheia Adventure Book 1) - childrenAletheia Adventure Series – The Rescue of Timmy Trial (Book 1)
By: E. M. Wilkie

“The aim of this first book in the Aletheia Adventure Series is stated in the Preface as being “an attempt to help and encourage young readers to develop an understanding of the truth contained in the Word of God”.

The story is set in the city of Aletheia, in the mysterious land of Err.

There is a full page detailed map of the city of Aletheia with names such as Redemption Square, Good Shepherd Primary School, Pray Always Farmlands and Run-the-Race Retirement Home.

In the land of Err there are similar names with spiritual significance in their meanings such as: Inner-self Improvement Centre, Know-it-all, Angerton, Mockton and Other-gods Conference Centre.

The reader is introduced to Jack Merryweather “an ordinary boy to whom extraordinary things never happened”. Little did he think that this was about to change. Since the story is presented in an allegorical way, the individuals in Jack’s class at school have names such as Marigold Goody who “never did anything wrong”.

The adventure really begins with Jack encountering Timmy Trial who is the school bully. They enter the farm sheds belonging to Jack’s Grandad and are transported into a mysterious land “the farm sheds were gone; there was a strange road ahead; an unknown city loomed large close by”.

The purpose of their unexpected journey is revealed when Timmy is told by an inhabitant of the city “there’s plenty that we can teach you during your time with us to help you understand what it means to become a Christian”.

The two boys are joined by Henrietta Wallop and her two brothers, but Timmy has had enough and slips away “a lone figure walking south down Apathy Road”.

An exciting adventure begins as the four children set out to rescue Timmy in the land of Err. Will they be kept safe from the dangerous Snares in the dark forest? Will they ever find Timmy? You will need to read the book to find out.

There are numerous illustrations throughout the narrative as well as a helpful list of Bible references included at the end of this imaginative book filled with valuable spiritual lessons.”

~ This book review was originally published on in Believer’s Magazine, February 2014, by A Cameron.

Available online from Gospel Folio Press. Only $11.99 USD!