Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

November 12, 2014

Here are a few new Kindle deals for you: The Moral Vision of the New Testament by Richard Hays ($2.99); Christianity’s Dangerous Idea by Alister McGrath ($2.99); Did Eve Really Have an Extra Rib? by Ken Ham ($3.03); Connected by Erin Davis ($2.99); Breakout Churches by Thom Rainer ($4.27). If you are into popular-level commentaries, don’t forget yesterday’s list from Zondervan.

A Soldier’s Diary - What was it really like to fight in the Second World War? These diary excerpts give us some glimpses.

Hide or Seek - You may want to check out this book deal from Westminster Books. When a book is recommended by Tim Keller, Ed Welch, Scotty Smith, and Philip Ryken, it must be good!

Common Mythconceptions - You might enjoy this list of common myths.

MacArthur Q&A - John MacArthur recently did a Twitter Q&A. You can find some of the highlights here. A favorite: “What is the best way to deal with pride?” “Get your eyes off yourself and onto Christ. The gap between whatever you are and what he is is infinite.”

The Sorrow and Joy of Imputation - “It is difficult to understand the sorrow and amazement and agony of a holy being in having sin thus by imputation imposed upon Him.”

Is Bill Watterson Staging a Comeback? - I doubt it, but I hope so. Did you see his new comic? It’s a good one.

A Theology of Healing - Justin Taylor summarizes an interesting article at Christianity Today.

Though sin often brings immediate pleasure, it gives no lasting joy. —RC Sproul

Sproul

November 11, 2014

What is a man’s greatest challenge? Of all the virtues described in the Bible, which is the one that causes men the most pronounced struggle as they seek to exemplify it? Many will be tempted to look straight to sexual purity and the allure of sexual sin, but in his book A Man’s Greatest Challenge Dai Hankey looks at another virtue: Self-control. I am inclined to agree with him. I have often described self-control as “the lost virtue” and can think of no other book that deals with that virtue and nothing else. Here is what Hankey says:

The battle for self-control has been the greatest challenge of my life. The faces of the issues I have sought to gain control over may have changed over the years, but the roots have remained and the struggle has never subsided. Looking back, my deepest regrets have come from losing control in one way or another. And my greatest frustrations have come from believing that I’d finally conquered certain sins, only to find my self-control failing as I messed up once again.

Perhaps you can identify. Perhaps you have a history of blowing up in anger, or drinking to excess, or being unable and unwilling to look up from your mobile phone, or dedicating so much time and attention to online pornography. The specifics may change, but the heart of it is the same: a lack of self-control. Says Hankey, “I want to tell you that building a life of lasting self-control is possible, though it is a challenge that requires honesty, sweat, tears, humility and faith. I’m praying that the gospel truths in this book would change your life as you read it as much as they have changed mine as I’ve written it.”

A Man’s Greatest Challenge uses an extended metaphor to instruct the reader about self-control. The author looks to the Old Testament and the many kings who were instructed by God to build walls around their cities. These walls functioned like self-control functions in our lives, keeping the enemy at bay. When the walls fell or when the walls were untended, the enemy was quick to take advantage. King Solomon himself said, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control” (Prov 25:28).

This metaphor extends through the book, and Hankey invests a great deal of effort in properly equipping the reader to understand self-control. There are no quick-fixes here. While the book is practical and provides clear and specific guidance on self-control, it first takes long looks at building a plan of action, understand the consequences of past sin, rightly putting sin to death, and laying a proper foundation through identifying with Christ. With these building blocks in place, he is finally able to instruct the reader in putting on the great virtue of self-control.

Written with winsome honesty and refreshing candor, this is a book that will benefit any man who chooses to read it.

A Man’s Greatest Challenge is available at Amazon or from The Good Book Company.

November 11, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: The Kindle editions of the NIV Application Commentary set are on sale for just $4.99 or less each. This is considered a very good popular-level series. I’ve asterisked volumes especially recommended by the various experts I rely on to help me sort through commentaries: Genesis*; Leviticus, Numbers; Deuteronomy*; Joshua; Judges and Ruth*; 1 & 2 Kings; 1 & 2 Chronicles*; Esther*; JobEcclesiastes, Song of Songs*; Isaiah; Jeremiah, Lamentations; Ezekiel*; Daniel*; Joel, Obadiah, Malachi; Hosea, Amos, Micah; Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah; Haggai, Zechariah; Matthew; Mark*; Luke*; John; Acts*; Romans*; 1Corinthians*; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians*; Colossians & Philemon*; 1 & 2 Thessalonians; 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus*; Hebrews*; James; 1 Peter*; 2 Peter & Jude*; 1, 2, & 3 John*; Revelation*. Also consider Am I Called? by Dave Harvey ($0.99) and How to Stay Christian in Seminary by David Mathis & Jonathan Parnell ($0.99).

The Missing Ingredient - “Guys can be exegetically sound, communicate with clarity, illustrate with profundity, and then at the end of the sermon it tastes like grandma’s meatloaf: somewhat filling but not so memorable.”

A Word About Men and Marriage - Jason Garwood sounds a little mad here, but I understand what he is saying.

Saying No - What Randy Alcorn says here won’t apply directly to all of us, but he makes some good points.

Thanksgiving Devotional - You can sign up here for a free daily devotional from Paul Tripp that will help you prepare for Thanksgiving.

Parenting for Sanctification or Reputation - Here’s a helpful distinction in parenting: parenting for their sanctification or parenting for your reputation.

7 Deadly Sins - This is a good start to a series on the 7 Deadly Sins in a Digital Age.

All the approval we ever need is already sitting at the right hand of God. —Sammy Rhodes

Rhodes

November 10, 2014

My neighbor is a public nuisance. It’s official, actually. She has been declared a nuisance which means the police are no longer obligated to respond to her phone calls. And she calls them a lot.

I first encountered Elizabeth a few years ago when I saw her propped up on crutches, trying to sweep several centimeters of snow off her very long driveway. I grabbed a shovel, cleared off her drive, and have been doing it ever since (see here). She is a fascinating woman who has lived in this neighborhood since before I was even born. She is well advanced in years and full of fascinating stories. But, sadly, she is losing her grip on reality. Through a long history of belligerent behavior and a shorter history of paranoia, she has alienated herself from every other neighbor. She has a reputation in this neighborhood and is the butt of many jokes. Most people just know to keep their distance.

Elizabeth recently called me over to her home to have me replace a lightbulb in her basement. While I was there, sorting through a box of many, many long-dead lightbulbs, she explained her most recent crisis. She had awoken from a nap just a few minutes earlier to find that someone had snuck into her house and varnished half of her coffee table while she slept. She was beside herself with concern and was planning to call the police. I looked around and saw every evidence that she had varnished half of her table, taken a nap, and, upon awaking, forgotten that she had ever begun. But I couldn’t exactly tell her that, could I? She called the police who opted not to respond.

This is just the most recent in a long series of similar incidents. Last year she accused local politicians of sneaking into her carport and dumping oil underneath her [very old] car as come kind of retaliation. She was upset and perplexed that the police didn’t believe her and refused to write up a report. Before that she accused local garden center workers of prowling her garden at night, splitting her hostas, and carrying away half of each plant. And before that she was convinced that the mayor had sent a team to break into her house and spray her furniture with a clear coat. Again, the police did not buy her story.

Our neighbors find this all hilarious, but I find it sad. It is sad to see her descending into paranoia and living on the edge of reality. She lives on her own, her sons have little to do with her, and she is steadily growing worse. But despite it all, she maintains her independence and walks to the grocery store just about every day, summer or winter, rain or snow. She tells me she is a medical test-case who has refused every medication doctors have offered her, and she just keeps going. Every Halloween she hands out grapes and bananas to the few children who will brave her driveway, every Christmas she brings my kids a little gift of hot chocolate, every summer she leaves her garden wild and untouched and considers it her pride and joy. And almost every week she finds another reason to call the police or to write another letter to the local newspaper. As eccentric as she is, I consider it a privilege to know her.

I have another neighbor who is quite a lot younger than Elizabeth. He is advanced and successful in his career. He makes lots of money and is quickly climbing the corporate ladder. He drives a nice car and speaks highly of himself and his accomplishments. He engages in banter with all the neighbors (except Elizabeth) and is well-known, well-liked and much admired. But he is also proudly atheistic, boldly denying the very existence of God.

Of these two neighbors, which is more to be pitied? Which of the two lives under the greater delusion? Is it the neighbor who can’t remember that she began to varnish her coffee table, or the neighbor who denies the very existence of his Creator? The Bible tells us “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ (Psalm 14:1).” Romans 1 insists “[W]hat can be known about God is plain to [all humanity], because God has shown it to them (v. 19).” One of my neigbhors is succumbing to age and infirmity and living in a sad fantasy. The other is willfully blinding himself to the most obvious reality in the world—that he and all that he sees and experiences have been made and formed by the Creator. He, by far, is most to be pitied because he, by far, is in the most perilous condition.

Image credit: Shutterstock

November 10, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp ($1.99); The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson ($0.99); Church Planter by Darrin Patrick ($0.99); Beat God to the Punch by Eric Mason ($2.99); The Rise of the Nones by James Emery White ($2.51); Understanding the Bible by John Stott ($4.27); James Robinson Graves by James Patterson ($0.99). Today only you can save $30 on a certified refurbished Kindle Paperwhite.

Astronaut - This is a beautiful video. Make it full-screen and HD if you can.

Voddie Baucham - Here is some big news from Voddie Baucham: “I am leaving GfBC to lead the seminary at African Christian University in Zambia next fall.”

Songs for Danforth Chapel - This album showed up in my mailbox last week, and once I found a CD player, I really enjoyed listening to it.

A Muckraking Magazine - The New York Times has an article about World magazine.

888,246 Red Ceramic Poppies - This article describes “How 888,246 red ceramic poppies captivated Britain and brought WWI to life.”

Repentance - Jared Wilson writes about repentance yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

You can’t cry guilt away. You need to give it away. —Helen Thorne

Thorne

November 09, 2014

A couple of times now I have shared prayers from a new book I am really enjoying. Prone to Wander is a wonderful new collection of prayers inspired by The Valley of Vision. I probably can’t share too many more of them lest I fun afoul of copyright laws, but I did want to share this amazing and convicting one. Let this be your prayer of confession to God:

King of heaven,

We confess before you the pride, fear, and selfishness that closes our eyes to hurting people around us. Though we share their flesh and blood, we are quick to look away when their suffering and brokenness make us uncomfortable. Instead of looking at them and seeing their great need, we quickly walk away, and turned toward people who make us feel good. Forgive us for the help that we should have offered this week that we did not. Forgive us for the help that we offered for sinful reasons: to feel proud and superior, to purchase friendship, or to put people in our debt. Forgive us for the times when our hearts have been full of resentment and bitterness toward hurting people for needing us, and toward you for asking us to help them. Lord, we cannot obey you with pure hearts and minds. Thank you that in your deep love for us you have not despised and abhorred us in our great affliction, but treasured us and sent your Son to rescue us.

Jesus, you see our great need and are not ashamed of us. We are crippled and afflicted by weakness and sin, but you rushed to rescue us. You took on the weakness of our human bodies and entered our sin– infested world in order to live the life we could not live. Thank you for seeing the needs of those around you, for loving them in their brokenness, and serving them with pure compassion, clean hands, and a pure heart. Thank you for your perfect obedience, which is credited to us, even though we continue to struggle every day with selfish hearts that lack compassion.

Holy spirit, melt our hard hearts, for we cannot soften them. Cause us to see how we have been rescued by our great Savior, and give us the desire and ability to open our eyes, to look around us, to see people as they are, and to love them deeply from a heart of gratitude and concern. Help us to enter the worlds of others, to celebrate with them, to grieve with them, and to walk alongside him with caring hearts and hands that are ready to help. May we grow into people who love as we have been loved and who serve as we have been served. Amen.

November 08, 2014

Amazon’s Big Deal is back—they have a long list of books on sale across all categories. A few Kindle deals that may interest you include Einstein, God, and the Bible by Ray Comfort ($3.39); The Crucified Life by A.W. Tozer ($2.99); Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God by Eric Metaxas ($1.99); Manhood Restored by Eric Mason ($2.99). New from GLH Publishing is a classic: The Explusive Power of a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers ($0.99).

I enjoyed this take on The Crucial Importance of Stay-at-Home Wives. It looks beyond the importance of moms raising their children and looks to other benefits.

David Murray looks at a new book and mines 12 Ways to Make (And Keep) Friends.

Thanks to Mere Agency for sponsoring the blog this week with their excellent article Why Most Web Sites Are Hard To Use (And What To Do About It).

Here’s a good article about Manhood and the Cross. “Regardless of your title or position, what must be understood, is that the way we perform in our title and position is defined by the cross.”

Risk Is Right - Desiring God interviews Ebola survivor and missionary Nancy Writebol. “Along with her husband of 40 years, David, she was serving as a missionary in Monrovia, Liberia, before the Ebola outbreak. They served in a hospital that would become a frontline defense against the disease.”

Disaster at the Speed of Sounds - Here’s an account of what happened on that ill-fated SpaceShipTwo flight.

It is at once the most Christlike and the most happy course for a believer to cease from living to himself. —C.H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon