Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Two Great Books for Ever Growing, Ever Green

@ Treasures of Encouragement
Two Great Books for Ever Growing, Ever Green
by Deb Welch

Two of the most indispensible Christians books on persevering and growing in faith that I find myself reading, re-reading and recommending regularly to friends are:
Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength by Bryan Chapell.

One is a perfect antidote for the fruit-deprived, battle-weary believer and the other is soul-nourishing, preventative medicine for the roots of our faith found only in the finished work of Christ. Both are treasured resources that I return to over and over for life-giving refreshment.

Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
Originally written as a collection of the good Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s topical sermon series on breaking free of a downcast soul, Spiritual Depression is less about what our current culture calls depression and more about the real struggles that we all go through at different seasons of life to grasp hold of the light and joy found in the truth in God’s Word. Each chapter is a self-contained diagnosis and treatment for key symptoms with which we can sometimes find ourselves wrestling, including fear of failure, lack of faith, unforgiveness, guilt, emotions, and bitterness, just to name a few. While Lloyd-Jones’s writing style can be somewhat difficult at times, his counsel is timeless and unmatched. This book provides the classic treatise on rest for the weary and spiritually embattled Christian. I would give it the highest recommendations and suggest that every Christian read it and retain a copy on their bookshelf as a go-to reference.

Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength
In Holiness by Grace, Bryan Chapell displays the beauty and majesty of God’s grace and mercy with a passion and a style that will increase the reader’s desire to be more like Christ. Chapell connects our liberation in Christ with our growth in Christ in a way that is often missed when we focus too much on a single aspect. Instead of giving us a set of purpose-driven directives or a presumption of grace that leads to a license to do as we please, Chapell declares that we were delivered already through the Cross of Christ and that our growth in obeying Him is actually the outward manifestation of that which He is already working within us by the power of the Holy Spirit. So filled with theological meat is this book that it is best to take it one chapter at a time or even just a few pages at a time. Chapell hits that amazing sweet spot of showing us that we don’t need to live defeated lives because of the sin that we still experience and that by the cross of Christ and His grace alone, we can now live as new creations to His glory.

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