Book Recommendation from a Pastor
Why recommend a book on spiritual warfare? Most of us tend to see spiritual warfare as the bizarre moments we might have heard from mission trips – and as a result it might seem distant and impractical. But few of us see spiritual warfare in the everyday functions: Cooking, job searching, interacting with our children, or watching Netflix. Yet Scripture opens our eyes to the wider reality: “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but … against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places” (Eph 6:12), even in the everyday.
It is this very reality that Powlison’s “Safe & Sound” helped me to better see. In this accessible book, I was reminded that my everyday functions, no matter how mundane or rote, are never just neutral motions. Nor is spiritual warfare a distant reality. Although the book does address the more sensational contexts (chs. 7 and 8 deal with the occult and animism), the everyday routines are the battlegrounds in which my allegiance and worship to Christ is tested. How I responded to Jesus was either warring for Christ’s kingdom or against it, and it was all happening within my very kitchen.
What I most appreciated about this book was how it really simplifies the Christian’s role. Again we might be accustomed to ideas of exorcism or unique actions. But throughout, Powlison makes the case that in spiritual warfare, it is ultimately Jesus Himself who is the warrior. We participate therefore through the “normal” means of dependence upon Him, trusting in His Word, prayer, repentance, walking in love, etc. This doesn’t make those “normal” actions any less significant, if anything it makes them more significant because they are the weapons God has for us in the war for Christ’s kingdom in my life.
Especially during times like this, we often fail to see that each moment is significant: It can either war for Christ’s kingdom, or against His kingdom. I’m thankful for this book that helps me to see that helps me to be engaged with Jesus’ agenda thoughtfully, personally and practically. Here are a few quotes:
- “In summary, Scripture treats spiritual warfare as a normal, everyday part of the Christian life, and so should we as well. It’s not about spooky special effects. It’s about how we think, feel, live, desire, and act in the presence of our enemies. The ultimate question that runs through everyone’s life and through the whole Bible is: Who will be your shepherd? Will you be shepherded by your good heavenly Father or by the liar and murderer – Satan?” (14)
- “… we see that the devil plays an underlying, behind-the-scenes role inthe everyday problems of sin, misery, and death. But, again, the Bible does not lead us to make the liar and murderer the focus of ministry. People and their relationship with God are the focus. So, do speak of the devil, but don’t talk too much. The way you pay attention to Satan is analogous to how you pay attention to other influencing factors … They are in the mix, but the person as a moral responder always comes front and center.” (17)
- “Turning to Christ is to win spiritual warfare.” (54)
- “True spiritual warfare normalizes the abnormal, helps people live in Christ’s reality, not the haunted universe of animism.” (71)
If our aim is to glorify God in everything we do, then even the small decisions matter. Instead of allowing the prospect of this making us anxious or leaving us petrified, we can plead for God’s grace and wisdom.
COVID-19 has made many of us long for a return to the way life used to be. But as Christians, that’s not where our hope should be stationed. We groan, wait, hope, and live for a better country.
For those struggling with their Bible reading plans or goals, here’s an encouraging read. Let’s trust God’s faithfulness as we obey and nourish our souls in the Scriptures.
Shelter-in-place has likely increased the frequency of conflicts at home. Instead of being discouraged, we should see conflicts of opportunities of grace. These are the moments where we can apply what we heard in this last Sunday’s sermon to love even when it’s unfair.
It is a sad commentary on our times that an article like this has to be written. Still, there’s a lot to glean and put into practice with how we extend grace and charity to each other. This should be true even in our interactions online.
A bit more of an academic read, Al Mohler is still able to distill and summarize what the Bible teaches about structural sin. Even if you don’t agree with everything, the article provides a lot to consider and pray through.
While the application is more towards preaching, the principle can be applied to how we study Scripture in our context as well as for how we counsel each other. May God be gracious to give us wisdom so we can “connect the gospel to people’s deepest longings.”
Reawaken Hymns is a project to put classic hymns to modern music. There’s much to enjoy on his YouTube channel, but this is his latest one.
Sovereign Grace has selected and put together their most popular songs. The collection covers a wide range of themes which encourage us to cling to God’s truth and worship Christ.
It’s been about two years since The Gray Havens last released a new original song. Even when we are sheltered at home, it’s still easy to busy ourselves. This song deals with resting and setting our sights on God.
Here’s a fun read for our classicalists. Included are links to listen to these timeless masterpieces.
If you haven’t seen this film and are looking for a way to spend an evening, this is a worthwhile rental. While not free, the documentary punctures a hole in the prosperity ”gospel” by bringing us back to the central truths of the good news.
Here, Ivan Mesa introduces new TGC children books to fill the need for teaching children how to live as Christians in this fallen world.
This was a book previously recommended by Pastor Eric. Crossway is offering select readings through the book so we might grow in grieving and wrestling during these troubling times.
A short video clip where W. Robert Godfrey sheds light on what this famous verse means for parenting.
In this biblical counseling podcast, Josh Squires provides godly wisdom on how to honor God when marriages are hard. There’s an index of subjects for those who wish to skip around.