A Prophetic Word

We sang this hymn in church Sunday, and I couldn’t help but think it would have been a great post for last month’s theme — words. It was written by Emmanuel Cronenwett, a Lutheran pastor from Butler, Pennsylvania, and published in 1880 in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal. You can listen to it by following the link below:

We Have a Sure Prophetic Word (Ames) – YouTube

For more hymns about God’s Word see these posts:

Thy Word

Thy Strong Word

Ancient Words

Speak O Lord

I was checking out the internet for hymns about the word of God, and came across this one by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, well-known contemporary hymn writers. It is one of the most popular songs on the getty music website(Getty Music) and was composed to introduce the sermon or the worship service. The prayer of the songwriters is that this hymn will inspire people to hear and respond to the preaching of God’s word. It reminds us that we our God speaks to us directly through His word. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

For more Christian music see these posts:

Just a Little Talk With Jesus

Up From the Grave He Arose

Hopeful Hymn #3

The Will of God is the Word of God by James MacDonald–Book Review

Do you worry about discovering God’s will for your life? Are you convinced that there is one right choice when it comes to selecting a spouse, a career, a vocation? If so, you will find this book very reassuring. According to author James MacDonald, God’s will is not about the details of our lives, it’s about who we are. It’s about our sanctification (word for the day): that refining process through which we become more and more like Christ.

The Will of God is the Word of God

God’s sovereign will, his plan for the universe and all of human history, cannot be thwarted. It doesn’t depend upon the choices we make. God’s moral will, or His word, is revealed in the Bible. This is God’s desire for our personal behavior, and is what we should concern ourselves with. If we live according to God’s moral will, we can be assured that the choices we make will be wise ones.

The author does give some guidelines for making God-pleasing decisions such as:

*Will this choice bring glory to God?

*Is this a decision Jesus would make?

*Will I be proud of this decision at the judgement seat of Christ?

*Would I want this done to me?

*Will this choice cause a brother or sister in Christ to struggle spiritually?

*Will this choice bring me under the power of something?

*Can I do this with confidence that it’s right?

*Am I breaking any previous committments?

This book was an easy read, and I certainly agree that any decision we make should be evaluated according to Biblical principles. However, I don’t think we need to totally reject the idea that God speaks to us in other ways at times.

VERDICT: 4 STARS A helpful guide to anyone struggling with an important decision.

For more on God’s will see:

Fanning the Flame #6–Seeking God’s Will

The Will of God by Leslie D. Weatherhead –Book Review

Martin Luther on God’s Word

R. C. Sproul on God’s Word

Do you study God’s Word, the Bible? God chose to communicate with us through words, and we won’t grow in our faith if we never bother to read them R C Sproul addresses the question of why we don’t study the Word of God this way:

“Here then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.” – Knowing Scripture, 1977

I’m sure, like me, you find the time to study the things that are really important to you. Sports fans memorize statistics about their favorite teams and players, employees take courses so they can advance their careers, teenagers (and many others) comb the internet to find out what’s going on in the life of that special celebrity. We all have our passions, but these things are all temporary. Make sure you also study the only subject that’s permanent. In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35

So, don’t be lazy. Study the Word.

For more about R. C. Sproul see:

The Holiness of God–R.C. Sproul–Book Review

Flee to the Scripture– A Quote by R.C. Sproul

A Quote From R.C. Sproul

John Stott on God’s Word

“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.”
― John Stott

How has the Word of God changed you?

For more on John Stott see:

John Stott on the Christian Community

John Stott on the Holy Spirit

Stott on the Christian Life by Tim Chester –Book Review

Martin Luther on God’s Word

” We must make a great difference between God’s Word and the word of man. A man’s word is a little sound, that flies into the air and soon vanishes, but the word of God is greater than heaven and earth, yea, greater than death and hell, for it forms part of the power of God and endures everlastingly.”

Martin Luther

Study to Do Good

I already mentioned that our Sunday School class has been studying the fruit of the Spirit.  Recently, after a lesson on self-control in financial matters, I gave the class a homework assignment — find a way to be generous this week, something beyond what you would normally do.  Then  I came across this quote by Richard Baxter (1615-1691) who was an English Puritan church leader, poet and theologian.

“Do not only take occasions of doing good when they are thrust upon you;  but study how to do all the good you can, as those ‘that are zealous of good works.’  Zeal of good works will make you plot and contrive for them;  consult and ask advice for them;  it will make you glad when you meet with a hopeful opportunity;  it will make you do it largely, and not sparingly, and by the halves;  it will make you do it speedily, without unwilling backwardness and delay.  It will make you labor in it as your trade, and not consent that others do good at your charge.  It will make you glad, when good is done, and not to grudge at what it cost you.  In a word, it will make your neighbors to be as yourselves, and the pleasing of God to be above yourselves, and therefore to be as glad to do good as to receive it.”

In other words, we should not only study to know God’s Word, we should study to apply it.  Have you been studying this way?

For more on generosity see this post:

the thank-you project by Nancy Davis Kho–Book Review


Listen Up!

Another key component of clarity is listening to God.  As Michele said in a previous post, sometimes it is easy to get so busy doing things for God that we are too distracted to listen to God.  Our Lord is a God who constantly communicates with His people.  He spoke creation into existence and continues to speak to us through His world.  He sent the prophets to tell the people His what He wanted them to hear.  We have His written word, the Holy Scripture and finally He sent Jesus, the Living Word.

The Bible has a lot to say about listening and hearing.  I’ll give you a few examples:

“This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased:  listen to Him.”  Matthew 17:5 (God’s words about Jesus)


“Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”  John 18:37 (Jesus speaking to Pilate)


“So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:17 (the apostle Paul writing to the Christians in Rome)

We are instructed to listen, and to listen particularly to the words of Jesus.  In order to do this we must of course, study the Scripture;  but in addition, we must read the Scriptures prayerfully.  We must hear not only what the God’s Word said to the people at the time it was written, we must hear what it is saying to US and what it is saying TODAY.

Of course, there are many ways to listen.  One simple way is prayer.  To do this, our prayer life should not always be words and asking;  we need to make time for silence and waiting.  This is often when God speaks.

We can listen to the advice of others we know to be godly, those who are more experienced in the faith:  this could be your Pastor, a mentor, a spiritual director, or even the members of your small group. The Quakers actually have a tradition called a “clearness committee”– a group that assembles to help a member listen for God’s will by meeting, praying and asking questions.

Certainly every one of us should be listening in our church services every week — the Word of God as spoken in the readings, the sermon or even the hymns may be God’s special Word to you.  Don’t miss it!

If you’re seeking clarity, keep listening.  Not in a vacuum.  Pray, study, worship.  Test your answers against Scripture and in the company of others.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”   Matthew 11:15


Small Groups Made Easy – A Book Review

Ryan Lokkesmoe is a well-known author of several books on small groups, as well as, small group curriculums. The book is divided into 2 parts. The first part addresses the practical applications of small groups. He covers logistics, planning, leaders, childcare, and location, as well as many more.

He gives practical, simple principles to follow to make sure the group is instituted, planned and lead well so that it can succeed in the first part. I found the principles to be easy and effective if a bit simple.

The second part is based on 12 basic Christian studies which I enjoyed more than the first part. I felt that the studies were well thought out and provided ample questions to engage all participants. He backs up his study material with ample scripture references and ends each study with the most important thing – Prayer.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I felt it was well-written and gave sound advice but could have given a little more detail in the implementation part.

I have received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

Confronting Christianity – A Book Review

Rebecca McLaughlin has written a book that tackles 12 hard-hitting questions that most Christians should be able to answer but shy away from, whether from an inability to answer or afraid of the answer, remains to be seen.

The chapters are divided into topics such as slavery, the denigration of women, homosexuality, and God allowing suffering are just a few.  Each chapter gives detailed Biblical reference to the position stated and additional references from noted theologians.

The book is so detailed in the response to the questions that I would argue it is more than a one time read. It is an armchair reference manual to be studied regularly and absorbed. I feel more comfortable in explaining several of the questions asked but will take more time to read and digest them all. I applaud the author for this undertaking and feel that she has done a tremendous job of equipping Christians to answer those hard-hitting questions.

I give this book a stellar 5 stars. This review is based on the thorough, detailed explanation and thought that went into the compilation.

You may purchase this book at the link below:


I have received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255