(1) “All is shadow here below! The world is a shadow; and it passes away! The creature is a shadow; and the loveliest and the fondest may be the first to die! Health is a shadow; fading, and in a moment gone! Wealth is a shadow; today upon the summit of affluence, tomorrow at its base, plunged into poverty and dependence! Human friendships and creature affections are but shadows; sweet and pleasant while they last, but, with a worm feeding at the root of all created good, the sheltering gourd soon withers, exposing us to the sun’s burning heat by day, and to the frost’s cold chill by night! Oh, yes! “Passing Away” is indelibly inscribed upon everything here below! Yet how slow are we to realize the solemn lesson: “What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!” Unconverted reader, what is your life but a vapor that passes away? and what are its pursuits but shadows; unreal, unsatisfying, evanescent? Your rank, your wealth, your honors, your pleasures, are but phantoms which appear but for a little while, and then are lost in the deeper shadow of the grave, and the still deeper and longer shadow of eternity! Oh, turn from these dreams and hallucinations, and, as a rational, accountable, immortal being, on your way to judgment, fix your mind upon your solemn, endless future! You are going to die! And, oh, when that dread hour comes, so real and appalling, how will your past life appear?” – Octavius Winslow
(2) As I fix my gaze upon the cross of Christ, three things become crystal clear: (1) I am a great sinner. In myself, I am worthy only of death and total banishment from God. (2) God’s love for me, even as I stand in the stench of my sin is totally mind blowing and yet ever so real. He loves me far more than I could possibly imagine. (3) Christ is a great Savior. He is my only hope and all my righteousness.
(3) An author usually writes with the hope of being read; and more than this, that what is written would benefit those who do so. He feels he has something worth saying, and wishes to say it in such a way that it impacts people. This is his driving motivation that propels him to spend many sleepless nights at his desk, writing, re-writing, and writing again. He writes because he feels he must write. He has to say it. He has to get his thoughts down on paper. He just has to. Like a mother with child, there’s something inside him that must come out. Something has to be said. Something has to be heard.
When the final book is in the hands of people, an author waits with baited breath to learn if what he wrote made any kind of difference. He wants to know if his words hit the mark. The Christian author wishes to know if God is somehow using the book to draw people closer to Himself. Did it help someone? Did the Lord use the book to help someone understand HIS book better? Is someone on earth walking closer to the Master now? Is someone out there enjoying their inheritance in Christ more than they were previously?
Its still early days regarding my own book, but the feedback so far remains encouraging. One reader recently wrote:
“Before reading this book, I was “spooked” even by the word Calvinism… it sounded like a good-old-boys theology that I didnt want to be part of. However, in the interim, I heard people I truly respect (John Piper, Greg Koukl, Matt Slick) supporting it so I gave it a try and bought this book.
The author holds your hand and shows you the rationale behind the 5 points, all properly backed up by Scriptures. I don’t say it totally changed my belief on freedom but put a stone in my shoe to continue studying in prayer to find the truth… The book is also easy to read so you will go through it fairly quickly and painlessly.”
This is just the sort of person I wrote the book for – someone who is prepared to look at the Scriptures with something like an open mind. My prayer is that it will be a tool to help people come to grasp the truth of His word on this vital theme of Divine election. As I have written elsewhere:
“God revealed this in His word, not to cause controversy amongst Christians. It is not in the least bit controversial to Him. He revealed this because as His child, He wanted you to know this truth. God forbid that it should be obscured from you. It is part of your inheritance to come to understand that He has had no momentary, temporary interest in you. God has loved you from eternity. God did not have to tell us about His electing love, but there is no doubt that He has done so many times over. The reason for this is clear. He wanted you to know that He actually chose to save you. He did so for reasons known only to Him (though we know it was for no reason found in you at all). His choice was without conditions because born spiritual dead, there were no conditions you could ever fulfill. When you were without God and without hope in this world, God took the initiative in sending His Son into this world to do whatever was necessary to bring you to Himself. This is radical, overwhelming, all conquering love. Nothing could suceed in standing in His way. Once the choice was made, there would be no possibility of failure.”
I have been told that the paperback version of the book is now in bookstores as far away as South Africa and Australia. As I mentioned last week, it is currently available at a 50% discount direct from the publisher here in the USA, Solid Ground Christian Books. For those who wish to order 10 or more copies there is a 54% discount. Both deals can be found at this link.
(4) There’s a variety of resources in this week’s Friday Ligonier $5 sale worth considering here.