Monday, 26 January 2009

The Publican's Prayer

This little booklet - The Publican's Prayer by Theodore van der Groe - was published by Zoar Publications in the 1970's as part of their Apples of Gold series. It was very popular but has long been out of print. For years many customers have asked for this title and we have had to disappoint them, so it is pleasing news that it is available again. This new edition has been fully retypeset by Gospel Mission Books. The following taster is taken from the conclusions...
"This then is the great and blessed lesson, which the Publican teaches us by his prayer: that true and unfeigned repentance is never present without true faith. Through the one the sinner loses life in himself and through the works of the law, and through the other he finds life everlasting through mercy in Christ. When a sinner is truly penitent, then his heart is wholly laid low through a heavy burden of his sins and of God's righteous condemnation and terrifying wrath. This burden presses the poor man as it were down to the earth and he becomes completely exhausted under it. If he could not now have a view by faith of the merciful majesty of God in Christ, and could not with the serpent-bitten Israelites look upon the uplifted brazen serpent, the crucified Son of man, then the miserable and dejected sinner would utterly succumb and perish, for he finds no means whereby his life can be saved and preserved, apart from Christ and mercy. The hypocrite, in his hour of greatest need, when in danger of drowning, is always able to lay hold of a plank of self-rghteousness, and on that he floats along until he comes here or there to land at last. But a true penitent who is quite cast down under the burden of sins and God's anger, can find no salvation in tears or good desires, through sudden joy or vain delusion, nor through anything else. He sees and feels himself for all that, completely and eternally lost. There remains nothing for him but the Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and God's pure mercy, promised freely to truly penitent and despondent sinners in the sacred Gospel. How should he die then, without laying hold on that? Shall the name of the Lord be for us a strong tower, and shall a truly penitent soul who can find no refuge elsewhere, not run into it, and be safe? Either repentance is not complete, or it must surely lead on to faith, to which it is God's ordained pathway. For a true repentance can never end in delusion or despair, for then the Holy Spirit's own work would be in vain, which he begun solely in order to save poor sinners."
quoted from The Publican's Prayer by Theodore van der Groe published by Gospel Mission Books, £1.95

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A Story Worth Sharing

We were told the following true story by a customer today. A friend of hers sends our AV Block Calendars out to a mission in Zambia. One of these is given to a man who is poor and also cannot read English very well. He has to leave home before it is light to get to work and doesn't get back before dark. Our calendar is perfect for him because he simply tears off the day's text on his way out and then reads and re-reads it during daylight hours when time allows. It is just as much as he can manage. How wonderfully God works to supply his people's needs! And it gives us such heart to continue to produce the calendar if He chooses to use it in this way. The texts for 2010 are being finalised as I write. May God bless them to the glory of His name and the good of many at home and overseas.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Duncan's War

I don't tend to review children's books, leaving that safely in Lorna's hands. However I picked this book up as she was badgering me to have a look at it to decide whether to stock it or not. It is Christian fiction, the first book in a 3 part series on the Covenanting times in late C17th Scotland, aimed at age 11+. The author is Douglas Bond, who is a history teacher in the USA, and it is published by P & R for £7.95. I'm afraid my initial reaction was along the lines of 'hmm, another romanticised American take on British history...and trying to represent Scots accent within the dialogue as chance!' But my scepticism was largely overcome when I got down and read it. I started halfway through an evening and didn't put it down until around midnight. Yes, it was gripping stuff. The history is woven in a reasonably unforced manner into the tale, which is quite difficult when you consider the complexity of it - rights and wrongs, 'goodies' and 'baddies' are not always clear cut. There is colour in this book, the character, beliefs and practices of the Covenanters are brought out, but also the struggle within the hero himself between external religion/culture and personal faith. A good theme is stressed - the biggest battles are within. I particularly appreciated the quotes that pop up from Samuel Rutherford, which give young people a little taster of his sublime writings. All in all, it might be one for the boys rather than the girls - plenty of action and warfare etc, but I wouldn't want to get into hot water over labelling it in this way. Recommended.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Sovereign Grace

"Salvation is, from its beginning to its end, a mighty wonderwork of God, no less marvelous, and therefore, no less divine, than the work of creation. It is that wonderwork of the Almighty by which He calls light out of darkness, righteousness out of unrighteousness, everlasting glory out of deepest shame, immortality out of death, heaven out of hell! It is the wonder of grace, whereby God lifts an accursed world out of the depth of its misery into the glory of His heavenly kingdom and covenant. That work is absolutely divine. Man has no part in it, and cannot possibly cooperate with God in his own salvation. In no sense of the word, and at no stage of the work, does salvation depend upon the will or work of man, or wait for the determination of his will. In fact, the sinner is of himself neither capable nor willing to receive that salvation. On the contrary, all he can do and will is to oppose, to resist his own salvation with all the determination of his sinful heart. But God ordained, and prepared this salvation with absolutely sovereign freedom for His own, His chosen ones alone, and upon them He bestows it, not because they seek and desire it, but in spite of the fact that they never will it, and because He is stronger than man, and overcomes the hardest heart and the most stubborn will of the sinner. He reconciles the sinner unto Himself; He justifies him and gives him the faith in Christ; He delivers him from the power and dominion of sin, and sanctifies him; He preserves him. All this belongs to the wonder of salvation, which is accomplished through sovereign grace alone."

Herman Hoeksema
Quoted from the first chapter of 'Whosoever Will'
published by RFPA, £8.95

Friday, 2 January 2009

New Year

Happy New Year everyone. There is much to be thankful for as another year begins and as always much it seems to be concerned about. The first text on the AV Block calendar for the year is very appropriate... 'Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer ... with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.' Philippians 4:6. What an encouragement to know we have a heavenly Father who knows all our needs and hears all our poor prayers.

The first quote on the Gathered Gold calendar (as mentioned by Jeremy in the previous post) is also a good one to encourage us in our daily walk as we start a New Year...
'If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.' (C T Studd)

NB. Both these calendars are still available.

We plan to reopen the shop on Monday 5th January and look forward to serving you throughout 2009.