Tim Challies

New and Notable Christian Books for November 2023

November is not traditionally the greatest month of the year for book releases. This November, though, proved to be something of an exception as a number of publishers released new books just in time for the holiday shopping season. Here are my picks for this month’s new and notable books that may be of interest to Christian readers. In every case I’ve included the publisher’s description.

The Pilgrim’s Regress: Guarding Against Backsliding and Apostasy in the Christian Life by Mark Jones. This book has the shortest editorial description I’ve ever seen: “Mark Jones addresses the uncomfortable topic of backsliding believers-and, to a lesser extent, apostasy-in a serious, hopeful, and pastoral work informed by wise theologians of eras past.” But I wrote the foreword to it so can attest that it’s well worth a read. Here’s part of what I said: “Whether you are attempting to understand and guide someone who seems to be walking away, whether you are a pastor wondering whether one of your parishioners is backslidden or fallen away, or whether you have concerns for the state of your own soul, The Pilgrim’s Regress will bless and help you. Drawing from the deep wells of Christians from ages long past, and fully dependent on the Bible, Jones writes with a theologian’s precision and a pastor’s love. He writes to encourage and to comfort, to reprove and to exhort. He writes ultimately to glorify our God and serve his people.” (Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)
Reforming Criminal Justice: A Christian Proposal by Matthew Martens. “Jesus told his followers that the entirety of the Old Testament’s law is encapsulated in the commands to love God and to love their neighbors as themselves. In Reforming Criminal Justice: A Christian Proposal, Matthew T. Martens argues that love of neighbor must be the animating force for true reformation of the criminal justice system, obligating us to seek the best for both the criminally victimized and the criminally accused. Using his theological training Martens reveals how Scripture provides several guideposts (accuracy, due process, accountability, impartiality, and proportionality) for loving our neighbors as it relates to criminal justice. Then, drawing on his near quarter century practicing criminal law, he examines how America’s justice system falls short of the biblical standard. By understanding how our current system operates and considering how love of neighbor relates to issues of crime and justice, we will be better equipped to seek true Christian reform of the justice system.” (Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)
You Are Still a Mother: Hope for Women Grieving a Stillbirth or Miscarriage by Jackie Gibson. “When you lose your baby to stillbirth or miscarriage, it feels like the ground has fallen out from underneath you. Speaking from experience, Jackie Gibson reaches out, offering the only balm that will bring comfort to your pain. Grieving the loss of a child to stillbirth can be a lonely and agonizing experience. Sadly, this overwhelming loss is far more common than one may think, affecting around 1 in 160 births. Gibson honestly acknowledges the sorrow, the loneliness, and fears that come from suffering the loss of a child while pointing to the gospel with gentleness and understanding. You Are Still a Mother weaves Scripture and deep truths about God with Jackie’s personal experience to provide a book that is both honest and full of hope. Acknowledging that all who suffer this loss will never be the same, she reassures readers that God will be present through every moment of every day.” (Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)
He Gives More Grace: 30 Reflections for the Ups and Downs of Motherhood Through the Years by Sarah Walton & Linda Green. “Motherhood is one of life’s most joyful yet most difficult gifts. We are eager to get it ‘right’, yet parenting usually highlights our weaknesses and leaves us worried about our mistakes. These hope-filled, positive devotions recognize the realities and pressures, joys and disappointments of motherhood and will give you a precious reminder of grace from God’s word to hold onto each day. They will help you to trust that God’s grace is enough for you and your kids. As the authors say in the introduction, ‘Our children do not need a perfect mother. What they do need is a mother who recognizes her need for a perfect Savior and understands that this is the greatest need of her children as well.’ As you focus on the work of Jesus rather than your own efforts, you will feel less pressure and more freedom and joy in all the ups and downs of motherhood.” (Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)
Behold and Believe: A Bible Study on the ‘I Am’ Statements of Jesus by Courtney Doctor & Joanna Kimbrel. “Seeing is believing. If we want to know who Jesus is and why he is important to our lives, we need to take a closer look at what he said about himself. Jesus describes himself as the bread of life, the light of the world, the good shepherd, and more. His bold words invite us to behold him―and then to trust him. Whether you’ve never read the Bible, have followed Jesus for years, or find yourself somewhere in between, this 7-week Bible study will help you explore the question, Who is Jesus? Using the ‘I Am’ statements in the Gospel of John, authors Courtney Doctor and Joanna Kimbrel demonstrate how to observe, interpret, apply, and reflect on key Bible verses about Jesus’s identity. Weekly prayers, memory verses, brief commentaries, and discussion questions help women to see Jesus, trust him alone for salvation, and proclaim his goodness to others.” (Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)
Love the Ones Who Drive You Crazy: Eight Truths for Pursuing Unity in Your Church by Jamie Dunlop. “Churches are full of differences. Those differences might be rooted in culture or personality or even musical style. In recent years, differences over political and social issues have frayed the unity of many churches. Yet if a church is centered on Christ alone, then unity at church will sometimes require building genuine friendships that bridge across all those differences. How can Christians navigate those relationships? Can they really love people at church who sometimes drive them crazy? This practical guide explores 8 truths from Romans 12–15 that show us how to find God-exalting unity at church with those we struggle to love. Love the Ones Who Drive You Crazy is a roadmap to finding joy in Christ through the many differences we have with fellow believers, a joy that powerfully declares the glory of God. Because easy love rarely shows off gospel power.” (Buy it at: Amazon)
Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Thomas Schreiner. “In this addition to the award-winning BECNT series, leading evangelical biblical scholar Thomas Schreiner offers a substantive commentary on Revelation. Schreiner’s BECNT volume on Romans has been highly successful, with nearly 40,000 copies sold. In this volume, Schreiner presents well-informed evangelical scholarship on the book of Revelation. With extensive research and thoughtful chapter-by-chapter exegesis, he leads readers through the text of Revelation to help them better understand the meaning and relevance of this biblical book. As with all BECNT volumes, this commentary features the author’s detailed interaction with the Greek text and an acclaimed, user-friendly design. It admirably achieves the dual aims of the series–academic sophistication with pastoral sensitivity and accessibility–making it a useful tool for pastors, church leaders, students, and teachers.” (Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)
Dictionary of the New Testament Use of the Old Testament edited by G.K. Beale, D.A. Carson, Benjamin Gladd, and Andrew David Naselli. “With the torrent of publications on the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, the time is ripe for a dictionary dedicated to this incredibly rich yet diverse field. This companion volume to the well-received Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (CNTUOT) brings together leading evangelical biblical scholars to explore and explain the many facets of how the New Testament writers appropriated the Old Testament. This definitive resource covers a range of interpretive topics and includes summary articles on each biblical book and numerous themes. It also unpacks concepts mentioned in the CNTUOT, demonstrates how the Old Testament uses the Old Testament, and addresses a wide range of biblical-theological, hermeneutical, and exegetical topics. This handy reference book is for all serious students of the Bible as they study how and why Old Testament texts reappear and are reappropriated throughout the Bible.”(Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)
Lord Jesus Christ (New Studies in Dogmatics) by Daniel J. Treier. “Lord Jesus Christ expounds the doctrine of Christ by focusing upon theological interpretation of Scripture regarding Jesus’s identity. The book’s structure traces a Christological arc from the eternal communion of the Triune God through creation, covenants, Incarnation, passion, and exaltation all the way to the consummation of redemptive history. This arc identifies Jesus as the divine Lord who assumed human flesh for our salvation. The book expounds and defends a classically Reformed Christology in relation to contemporary contexts and challenges, engaging both philosophical and global concerns. Each chapter begins with the theological interpretation of a key Scripture text before expounding key concepts of orthodox Protestant Christology. Lord Jesus Christ is a unique example of writing dogmatic theology by way of theological exegesis. The result is a volume that engages the numerous scholarly volumes on Christology that have appeared within the last couple of decades but provides a contemporary account of a traditional view.” (Buy it at: Amazon)
Joni Eareckson Tada by Catherine MacKenzie. This is part of a new series titled “Hall of Faith” and launched alongside the volume on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. “Joni Eareckson Tada is a Christian author, speaker and artist whose life was turned upside down at the age of seventeen when a serious diving accident meant she was paralysed from the shoulders down. This short biography tells the story of what happened on that fateful day, and in the days and years that followed. Catherine MacKenzie skilfully shows how Joni’s story is a story of God’s goodness in the face of extreme suffering. Her testimony is one that has encouraged and moved people around the world. Read it here and see how the God of love is working for the good of those who love him, even in the most challenging circumstances.” (Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)
Word and Spirit: Selected Writings in Biblical and Systematic Theology by Richard Gaffin Jr. “Few Reformed theologians have exerted the influence in both the church and the academy that Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. has, shaping the theology and spiritual formation of generations of pastors and teachers. Until now, his most significant published works have been inaccessible to most theological readers, published in academic journals, denominational newsletters, and out of print festschrifts and essay collections. A decade in the making, Word & Spirit gathers Gaffin’s finest works of biblical and systematic theology and arranges them in a singular, organic whole that presents Gaffin’s thought and work as comprehensively and clearly as it ever has been. More than 40 essays, articles, and tracts have been compiled, including ‘The Usefulness of the Cross’, No Adam, No Gospel, ‘A Cessationist View,’ and ‘The Work of Christ Applied’. This collection is a must-have for any student of theology.” (Buy it at: Amazon, Westminster Books)

A La Carte (November 30)

As is the custom in December, Westminster Books has all ESVs at 50% off. That includes Journaling Bibles; Study Bibles; Children and Youth Bibles; Premium and Heirloom Bibles; Scripture Journals; and so on.

Today’s Kindle deals include the excellent When Helping Hurts along with commentaries on Romans and James.
(Yesterday on the blog: When You Poke God in the Eye)
Reformer’s Syndrome
“Among the many theological ailments that can strike in Reformed churches, ‘Reformer’s Syndrome,’ is one of the more troublesome. What is ‘Reformer’s Syndrome,’ you ask?” J.V. Fesko explains.
Reformed Stupidity?
Meanwhile, Wes defends Reformed theology against a charge of stupidity. And as he does so, he explains a key theological distinction. “Do Reformed preachers not see the stupidity of telling people not to rely on their works while also saying genuine faith produces good works? It just seems like double-speak to avoid being labeled Catholic or Arminian.”
Five Barren Women in the Old Testament
“Whenever the biblical authors describe a woman as barren, you can rest assured she won’t be barren for long. The reason for this confidence is the pattern of God’s reversal of the state of barrenness.” Mitch Chase looks at all of the OT women who are described in this way.
Stop Calling Them Names
Sam Emadi calls on Christians to stop using name-calling with their theological opponents. “If you’re prone to use name-calling with theological opponents, consider three passages in Scripture and how they address our unhealthy culture in evangelicalism of pejorative labeling.”
10 Quick and Random Thoughts on Writing
Nick McDonald is deep in the book writing process and from that perspective offers 10 quick, random, helpful thoughts about writing.
Because He Has Heard
Kyle Borg: “Almost two weeks ago, as I was winding down from a week of work, I got a phone call from a member of the church. Within seconds I knew this was a serious phone call. The dad on the other end said: ‘It’s my son. I think he drowned. He was unresponsive when they pulled him from the water, but the ambulance got him breathing again. We need prayer.’”
Flashback: True Peace With God Comes on God’s Terms
As you battle sin, listen for God’s affirming voice and look for success. God is for you and loves to help you put your sin to death. It is his delight. He will speak peace to your soul.

Nothing more pleases, honors, and glorifies Christ than the confiding trust, the expectant confidence, and the child-like faith of those to whom He has given every cause to trust Him with all their hearts. —A.W. Pink

When You Poke God in the Eye

Have you ever been poked in the eye? Or have you ever gotten a speck of dust in your eye and learned how it takes just the tiniest piece of grit to cause the severest amount of pain? The smallest particle of dirt has the ability to incapacitate the biggest and strongest of men when it lodges in his eyeball. The eye is fragile and precious and we rightly guard it from harm.

There are a number of places in Scripture where God refers to his people as “the apple of his eye”—a delightful phrase that has been translated and adopted by the English language. The apple of the eye is the dark circle, the pupil, the tenderest and most important part. It is the part we protect with the greatest of care.
In Deuteronomy 32 Israel is referred to in this way. “[God] encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” In Psalm 17 David is desperate for protection and asks God, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” The phrase appears again in Proverbs and in Lamentations, and these repeated uses demonstrate the love God has for his people. Just as we protect the pupil as a particularly weak and vulnerable part of the body, God protects his weak and vulnerable people. God’s people plead with him to protect them in the way they so earnestly protect their own eyes.
There is one further reference that comes in the closing chapters of the Old Testament. There Zechariah prophesies and proclaims, “For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye…” Here God is warning the nations that if they harm Israel they will effectively be harming God—they will be poking him in the eye. And just as any human being will swat away the finger that attempts to jab itself into the pupil, God will swat away the enemy that attempts to harm his chosen ones. God so identifies with Israel, he so loves them and cares for them, that they are like that most precious and tender part of his body.
We do not need to look hard or look far today to find people who mean to do damage to God’s people—no longer ethnic Israel, but the church God has called from all nations, tribes, and tongues. The laws of many countries, and increasingly those in the West, are turning against God’s people. Those who pass such laws and those who enforce them should be warned—they are reaching out a finger toward the eye of God. And even where the laws have not been militarized against God’s people, many individuals, many organizations, and many corporate policies have been. Here too people ought to know and consider—they are poking God in the eye.
But I think there is another application that ought to concern you and me. We need to know that when we turn on our fellow Christians, when we hurt or harm them, when we belittle or insult them, we are likewise poking God in the eye. When we exaggerate their faults or diminish their graces, we are reaching out a finger toward his pupil. When we treat them poorly instead of well, when we tear them down instead of build them up, when we curse them instead of bless them, we are like a piece of grit in the eye of God.
And we should not expect that God will stand idly by while we do damage to what he regards as most precious. We should not expect that God will sanction such violence or that he will long tolerate such sin. We should not expect that he will shrug his shoulders in apathy as a finger repeatedly gouges his eye.
God loves his people—the people he called and justified, the people he sanctified and glorified, the people who belong to him. He loves them and will protect them. So be warned. Be warned when you are tempted to mistreat them, be warned when you are tempted to do or say what would harm them—he will protect his very own people in the way you protect your very own pupil. For they, for we, are the apple of his eye.
Note: My understanding of the original Hebrew phrase is that it translates most naturally to something like “the dark part of the eye” and the “apple” is an especially evocative English translation.

A La Carte (November 29)

The God of peace be with you today.

B&H has slowly but steadily been discounting the Kindle editions of every volume in their Christ-Centered Exposition commentary series. Several more volumes are on sale today along with some other titles.
Ten Reasons Why Church Membership Is Biblical
Mitch Chase: “Is church membership biblical? Yes. The reason is that the biblical nature of church membership is established from a variety of passages and considerations. Here’s a cumulative case of ten reasons why church membership is biblical.”
I Need Sundays
Glenna Marshall explains why she so badly needs Sundays—and why she cries pretty much every Sunday.
Christianity vs Everybody
How could a good God allow evil? Is the Bible homophobic? Is Christ really the only way? Whether you’re new to the faith or have been raised in Christianity your whole life, these questions have most likely crossed your mind, perhaps even creating serious doubts for yourself or someone you know. If you want to deepen your own faith or help those who are struggling, we invite you to join us for our weekend seminar, “Christianity vs. Everybody,” hosted by DBTS. (Sponsored Link)
Awake My Soul (Psalm 57) (Video)
I’ve really been enjoying this new song from Shane & Shane and The Worship Initiative.
Every. Single. Word.
“As I was listening to the radio the other day about current events, I found myself asking, ‘I wonder how much of this is true?’ It’s an unfortunate fact that you can’t believe everything someone tells you. Not only are there obvious biases in every conversation and purposeful misdirections, but also sometimes people just have their facts wrong. Even the most careful and well spoken individuals sometimes fall into innocent miscommunications and unintentional misrepresentations.”
After Experiencing Trauma, Will I Ever Feel Safe Again? (Video)
Ed Welch addresses a question that will be familiar to many people who have experienced trauma.
It’s So Easy
It’s so easy, says Andrea. It’s so easy to be a source of encouragement to another person.
Flashback: I Knew It!
We will know that though we fought our way toward a destination we could see only with the eyes of faith, our faith was well-placed. “I knew it!” we will shout in triumph. “I knew it was real! I knew he was true!” we will cry, as we fall into the arms of the Savior.

To preach is to open up the inspired text with such faithfulness and sensitivity that God’s voice is heard and God’s people obey him. —John Stott

A La Carte (November 28)

May the Lord be with you and bless you on this fine day.

There is a good little list of Kindle deals today. I have also included a list of some popular general market titles that have been discounted for the day.
(Yesterday on the blog: How Long Has It Been Like This?)
On Culture War, Doug Wilson, and the Moscow Mood
This is a really solid, helpful article from Kevin DeYoung in which he expresses his concerns with Doug Wilson and the movement he has built. “My concerns are not so much with one or two conclusions that Christians may reach if Wilson becomes their intellectual mentor. My bigger concern is with the long-term spiritual effects of admiring and imitating the Moscow mood. For the mood that attracts people to Moscow is too often incompatible with Christian virtue, inconsiderate of other Christians, and ultimately inconsistent with the stated aims of Wilson’s Christendom project.”
Instagram Addicted Your Teenager Because She’s Worth $270 to Them
Some newly redacted documents related to Meta show that the company studies teen biology in order to promote addiction and that it gladly chooses profits over mental health. Chris Martin explains. (See also the WSJ covering how Instagram’s algorithm promotes sexualized content to adults who follow children.)
Christianity vs Everybody
How could a good God allow evil? Is the Bible homophobic? Is Christ really the only way? Whether you’re new to the faith or have been raised in Christianity your whole life, these questions have most likely crossed your mind, perhaps even creating serious doubts for yourself or someone you know. If you want to deepen your own faith or help those who are struggling, we invite you to join us for our weekend seminar, “Christianity vs. Everybody,” hosted by DBTS. (Sponsored Link)
I struggle with dark intrusive thoughts that scare me. What do I do? (Video)
Mike Emlet provides some counsel for people who battle with intrusive thoughts.
Jesus was not born in a stable—and it really matters!
I have read a number of explanations as to why the common understanding that Jesus was born in a barn is not exactly accurate. This article lays out the argument with clarity.
Turning Your Complaints into Gratitude – A Great Challenge
Kevin lays down a great challenge—to deliberately labor to turn your complaints into gratitude. You will know, of course, that only one of those comes naturally!
The Complementarian compass
“When we think about questions relating to the relationship between husbands and wives in the home and the role of men and women in the church, we tend to think of the debate being primarily between complementarians and egalitarians with a binary choice. I want to suggest that there are good reasons for not seeing the conversation in those terms.” This one is worth reading and considering.
Flashback: The Sad, Sad Story You Need To Tell God
You have lost the light of God’s face, not because He has arbitrarily withdrawn it, but because your iniquities have come between you and your God; and your sins, like a cloud before the sun, have hid His face from you.

Pastor, do not let your vision for the church you want get in the way of God’s vision for the church you actually have! —Jared C. Wilson

Why is Charitable Giving Important?

This week the blog is sponsored by Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF), a nonprofit seeking to “deliver hope to suffering children by equipping local churches for gospel-centered mercy ministry.” Serving in the United States and 31 other countries, CHF seeks to help the local church reach suffering children and families in their communities with both physical help and spiritual hope found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One of the questions I get regularly starts something like, “I’m just a… college student… high schooler… teacher with student debts… how should I think about giving?” This question is similar for those who are elderly, those who are facing some sort of personal financial strain, those who are wealthy with a California mortgage, or those who are comfortably middle class.
One thing that has always been true about God’s people is that God commends those who give generously, regardless of their circumstances. Remember Jesus sitting at the temple in Mark 12 watching the givers? The wealthy and the poor widow both gave, but the widow was commended for her generosity.
How should we think about our own giving? I don’t have a formula or a clear target percentage for you, but Scripture does speak to the motives and purposes of our giving.
Giving is expected of God’s people.
The Old Testament consistently reports that God’s people dedicated gifts and tithes to Him. The annual festivals, harvests, and even the births of children were celebrated with offerings to the service of the Lord. Within the Gospels, Jesus recognized the gifts of people at the temple and clarified that the heart motivation behind the giving is vitally important. (Lev. 22, 2 Cor. 9:7)
Giving demonstrates our dependence on God as both a reflection of stewardship and an act of worship.
Everything that any believer has belongs to God. He has entrusted His people with possessions so that they might honor Him. Whether in large or small amounts, the believer who gives with thankfulness (Psalm 50) demonstrates the greatness of God by declaring His care and provision. (Matt. 6:19-21) How you handle your money will reveal where your treasure is.
Giving provides for the work of the church and the care of those in need.
The benevolence of God’s people has been expected to supply for the needs of the church as well as the foreigners, widows, and those impacted by poverty. Giving forces our eyes off our own needs to see God provide through us to others. (Deut. 26:12, 1 Tim. 6:17-19, James 1:27)
The simple act of regular giving can bring remembrance of God’s provision—spiritual and physical. The generous stewardship of what He has provided truly brings joy as we worship Him through cheerful giving.
Please know, there is great joy in giving God’s money back to His work. You won’t regret giving well!
You can put these principles into practice right now by donating to Children’s Hunger Fund for Giving Tuesday! When you give to CHF, each dollar can provide 4 meals for children in need, and thanks to a generous gift match, on Giving Tuesday, your donation can be matched for twice the impact. Make a difference here.

How Long Has It Been Like This?

It is an experience I have had and, in all likelihood, one you have had as well. I have gone to the doctor to tell him about some pain, some illness, some ailment, and he has asked, “How long has it been like this?” Sheepishly I’ve had to admit, “It has been months” or “It’s been like that for a year.” And, like a dad who is disappointed in his child, he has had to tell me, “You know, if you had come in a long time ago, this would have been much easier to treat.” Sometimes he has even had to say, “At this point, there is really nothing I can do. But if you had come to me a year ago…”

Similarly, I once learned a hard lesson not too long after I bought my first vehicle. The brakes began to squeal which told me they needed to be serviced. But I was busy and foolish and kept procrastinating a visit to the mechanic. When I finally did take my truck in, both the pads and rotors were in dire condition and needed to be completely replaced. That was an expensive lesson for a young man.
Doctors, mechanics, and so many others—all are familiar with the frustration of having people approach them only long after a problem begins. All are familiar with having to ask, “Why didn’t you bring this to my attention years ago? I could have helped you then. And the recovery or repair would have been so much easier. I would have had much greater confidence in my ability to help had you come here when the symptoms first began.”
But have you ever noticed that God is unbothered by the degree of an individual’s brokenness or the duration of his spiritual illness? Have you ever considered that God actually seems to specialize in the cases that appear to be most hopeless? Have you ever observed that he is able to redeem the hearts of people who had earnestly and willfully rebelled against him for years? Or that he is able to renew marriages that had gone sour almost as soon as the honeymoon came to an end?
How often have we seen the Lord reach out and save those who had extended patterns of rebellion, deep convictions about the non-existence of God, or a lifelong commitment to an entirely different faith? How often have we seen him blaze his light into utter darkness, speak his voice to ears that had been completely stopped? How often have we seen him address patterns of sinfulness that had been established since childhood or bring joy to marriages that had seemed beyond repair?
If God was a doctor, he would gladly request the most difficult cases and the most critical patients. If he was a counselor, he would request the people who had the hardest pasts, the most established patterns, and the least commitment to the process. And he would heal them all.
That’s not to say, of course, that we should dawdle before turning to him for salvation or linger before pleading with him for sanctification. It’s not to say that we should permit ourselves a long disobedience before finally doing as he has commanded. It is to say, though, that no case is beyond hope and no person beyond help. Whether we are pleading for the souls of those we love or seeking grace for our own patterns of misbehavior, we can trust that he is willing and that he is able. For no one is too far for his eyes to see when they wave their hands in surrender; no one is too distant for his ears to hear when they cry for his help; no one is too broken for his hands to heal when they fall down before him. No one is beyond his ability to bless, to save, or to heal.

2023 Cyber Monday Deals for Christians

Black Friday is behind us and that brings us to Cyber Monday, another opportunity to track down some good deals. I spent a good bit of time hunting around for bargains and am sharing them here. You may notice that some of them are the same as the Black Friday specials while others are entirely different.

Amazon has discounts on thousands of items. Of interest to me is their Kindle e-readers (and other devices) which are on sale today.
(If you are viewing this through the email newsletter, you won’t be able to see the Kindle deals. Click here to see them on my site.)

Kindle Oasis (my preferred device), Kindle Paperwhite, or Kindle (basic)
C.S. Lewis Signature Classics at 63% off
A large selection of board games are 50% off or more (including family favorites like Ticket to Ride, Catan, Pandemic, and literally hundreds more)
A lot of building toys like Knex, Lego, etc, as well as learning and tech toys
Home brands like KitchenAid, Ninja, Nespresso, Bissell, Vitamix, De’Longhi, Keurig, Yeti, and Amazon
Significant savings on 2023’s most popular general market books in their print versions (which includes Jinger Duggar Vuolo’s Becoming Free Indeed)
There is also a long list of “religion and spirituality” books discounted in their print versions. Among them you’ll find some good picks such as;

And then, of course, much, much more.
Westminster Books
Westminster Books has 200 of their best and bestselling books on sale with discounts in the range of 50% – 70% off. They have also launched a new volume by Richard Gaffin at a significant discount. Here are some representative deals:

They also have all ESVs at 50% off:

You might also like to look at their Christmas Gift Guide for gift ideas.
Logos has a host of products discounted for Cyber Monday—an entirely different list than on Friday. Here’s what they are offering today:

My top recommendations here would be the Challies Recommends bundle since it curates some of the best commentaries, the ESV Expository Commentary series, along with the Mentor commentary series. If you are collecting the NSBT series, you won’t find them much cheaper than they are today.
10ofThose, which is both a bookstore and a publisher, has a wide selection of books discounted up to 77%. They include:

10ofThose also provides the storefront for The Gospel Coalition and is offering many TGC products with similar discounts.
Accordance is keeping it simple by offering a blanket 25% off anything with the coupon code 25-ALL.
Banner of Truth
Banner of Truth is having their annual Christmas sale with deals of up to 50% off. This PDF has the details. It looks like some of their sets of books have the best discounts.
Christian Book Distributors
Christian Book Distributors has lots of deals on books and Bibles, as well as homeschool material. Shipping is free with code CYBER23.

Crossway+ members can browse the Christmas Gift Guide and order anything at 50% off. Crossway+ membership is free.
The Good Book Company
The Good Book Company is offering 30% off everything on their site plus free shipping. Bundles and sets are discounted up to 40%.
Matthias Media
Matthias Media has a good selection of their books on sale. Many are as low as $3 or $5.
Missional Wear
Missional Wear has select products at up to 50% off, plus you can save 15% site-wide using discount code CHALLIES15.
P&R Publishing
P&R is offering 35% off all titles with coupon code NOV23. Select titles are discounted 40% off.
Reformation Heritage Books
Reformation Heritage Books has a wide variety of their books and series on sale.
Visual Theology
Visual Theology is offering 50% off memberships with code BLACK2023. Digital Bible Cards and the 2023 Gospel Advent Calendar are also half off with BLACK2023. Then be sure to take a look at their new Advent Coloring Book.
Wretched, aka Todd Friel, has up to 50% off on books, booklets, DVDs, merch, and so on.

A La Carte (November 27)

Good morning. Grace and peace to you.

Today I have put together a long list of deals for Cyber Monday. There are some significant discounts to be had!
Today’s Kindle deals include some seasonal books from Crossway along with quite a number of other options.
(Yesterday on the blog: Proven Faith Is More Precious than Gold)
The Purpose and Limits of a Husband’s Authority
I wish I had read this article when I was much earlier on in marriage. Husbands of any age would do well to read, consider, and apply it.
From Bright Star to Bridegroom
I think you’ll benefit from reading Jay Dharan’s account of how Jesus turned the worst year of his life into the best year of his life.
The Importance of the Pastoral Payer: Don’t Ditch It and Don’t Wing It!
“An all-but-forgotten aspect of the liturgy that most non-traditional churches have gotten away from is the Pastoral Prayer. I confess that I have only recently, in the last four years, seen the pastoral prayer (prayer of supplication) as a valuable part of our liturgy as a young church plant. I am still growing in how to use this critical time in our worship service to best equip and encourage the variety of people who attend.”
Geography and Your Christian Growth
John Musyimi makes a guest appearance on Chopo Mwanza’s blog to ask some good questions. “What factors came into play as you were deciding where to stay? No doubt cost came into it. We want to live in housing that is affordable for our income. No doubt certain amenities came in as well. We also consider accessibility, security and distance from our places of work. All these factors are important and ought to continue playing a role in such a decision. But have you ever considered how living in close proximity to fellow church members might serve your faith?”
Why the Church of England’s Same-Sex Marriage Vote Breaks My Heart
Rebecca McLaughlin: “Last week, the Church of England voted in favor of a trial of special services asking God’s blessing on same-sex couples. I was raised in the Church of England and trained at an Anglican theological college. I’ve also experienced same-sex attraction for as long as I can remember. But this vote breaks my heart. Let me explain why.”
I’m Never More Christ-Dependent Than When I’m Doing Deep Breathing Exercises
Bob takes an extended look at the reality that we are embodied souls and suggests ways this can lead us to deal with anxiety.
Flashback: How I Review a Book
I became a book reviewer rather by trial and error and only through a very informal medium. Even then, I focus almost entirely on popular-level reviews of popular-level books. Having said that, I typically use a loose formula that I think can be helpful and that often resonates with readers.

Many would admit Christ to be their advocate to plead for them, but not their king to rule over them. —Thomas Watson

Proven Faith Is More Precious than Gold

It can be difficult to make sense of our trials as we endure them. But the Bible always assures us that our difficulties are never purposeless but always in some way purposeful. God is always using them to accomplish something good. This is the theme of this short devotional reflection from my friend Paul Tautges (and drawn from his new book Remade).

The simple gold ring on my left hand is priceless to me. It is my most valuable piece of jewelry because it symbolizes God’s gracious gift of a faithful wife. Originally, it belonged to another man, my wife’s great-grandfather, but was given to my wife by her grandmother when we got engaged. Karen took it to a local jeweler to get it resized so she could place it on my finger on our wedding day. Yet, as valuable as the gold used to make this ring may be, there is something else that is more precious and valued: faith that is tested by fire and proven to be genuine.
Commentator Kenneth Wuest explains the apostle’s illustration of an ancient goldsmith, who
refines the crude gold ore in his crucible. The pure metal is mixed with much foreign material from which it must be separated. The only way to bring about this separation is to reduce the ore to liquid form. The impurities rise to the surface and are then skimmed off. But intense heat is needed to liquefy this ore. So the goldsmith puts his crucible in the fire, reduces the ore to a liquid state and skims off the impurities. When he can see the reflection of his face clearly mirrored in the surface of the liquid, he knows that the contents are pure gold. The smelting process has done its work.
In the same way, the divine Goldsmith turns up the thermostat of our lives to sanctify us. He heats up the smelting furnace of affliction to reveal imperfections in our hearts so they can be skimmed off by our confession and repentance. Today’s Scripture reading makes it clear that God does does this not to defeat us but to prove the “genuineness” of our faith.
This was the case with Job, an Old Testament hero of the faith. God brought Job to the devil’s attention: “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8). Satan is not coequal with God. He is a finite creature who is accountable to the Creator. Even though the devil meant his attacks for evil, God meant them for good.
Job understood the process Peter describes. The furnace was turned up to very hot when God permitted Satan to attack Job’s family, health, financial security, and reputation. When Satan’s tsunami came ashore, Job fell in broken, submissive worship (1:20). When blistering heat revealed Job’s pride, Job confessed and repented (see Job 38-39). On the other side of his tragedy and trauma, Job spoke well of God: “When he has tried me, I shall come out [of the smelting pot] as gold” (23:10). Through it all, Job’s faith was tested and proven genuine; his suffering accomplished its intended purposes.
Be encouraged! God is up to something good amid your pain. As the refiner’s fire removes impurities to bring out the beauty of gold, so God uses trials to refine and bring out the beauty of your faith. The Father looks to the heart that clings to him while faith is being refined and sees the image of his Son being revealed. In this, he is pleased and glorified.
(For similar devotional reflections, consider Paul’s book Remade).

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