The Donkey Who Carried a King by RC Sproul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Encounters with Jesus can affect people in so many ways. In our own day there are people that use Jesus’ teachings to as permission to hate other people, to burden people with requirements on how they should live, and some reject him either quietly or sometimes loudly. Even when Jesus walked on the earth people felt much the same way as they came for healing, for blessing, or to curse and eventually plot to kill him.
RC Sproul tells a story of Davey, a little donkey who had a unique encounter with Jesus. Even though he was passed by for other important jobs, Davey was picked to be the one for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem as king on Palm Sunday. On going back home, however, Davey decided that he did not need to do his regular work because he was special enough to carry a king.
This book presents a simple, yet challenging story of the life of the Christian. Even though we have been chosen for salvation, we have also been given work to do, and any work assigned by the king is kingly work and should be done in his honor. Davey learns this valuable lesson by witnessing the life of Jesus firsthand and we can learn from his experience and by the witness of the Bible:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
With warm and vibrant pictures, Sproul tells Davey’s story that intersects with Christ’s during Holy Week, but it is not overtly an Easter story. Share this book with your children any time of the year to help them learn the value of their everyday lives in service to God who loves them enough to send his Son to take their place.
Note: a copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review. No obligation was given to give the book a positive review; all views expressed are my own and not influenced by the publisher.
Mark: Saint Andrews Expositional Commentary by R.C. Sproul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Four stories about Jesus and this is the oldest. It is also the quickest since every event in Jesus’ life seems to have happened immediately after the last. Yet what sets this account apart is that it speaks dramatically of Christ’s authority and the draw that he had as people heard and felt the weight of that connection to the Father.
In his signature style, R.C. Sproul present this full exposition of the gospel account with Christ’s authority as its central theme. His accessible discourse provides a look at the gospel nearly verse by verse as he not only talks about the passage itself, but connects it with the rest of the book and its significance to the life of Christ and our foundational belief as Christians.
What a year! With all the joys that come with the birth of my son and the trials regarding his health this year, I am so thankful for the way that God has shown me his grace in the books that I have had the privilege of reading either that were sent to me for review, given as gifts, or ones that have been sitting on the shelf for some time. I am constantly surprised at how God show himself to me through the books that he offers to me just when I need them.
Of the 53 books I have read this year, I wanted to share the ones that have meant the most to me. Perhaps they would make great Christmas gifts for people in your life or you may find that they mean something to you as they did for me.
Here, then, are my top 3 picks of the year, followed by some honorable mentions:
Holiness by Grace
by Brian Chapell
This was a fantastic book! I read this in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit when my son was under sedation for days and on full ventilation after his trachostemy surgery. Dr. Chapell tells a moving story about a mother whose child turned blue during the baby’s first feeding after birth. It was a great comfort to me in a time where I was completely helpless to do anything for my son, just as each of us are helpless to do anything that is truly pleasing to God, apart from the finished work of Christ. Holiness by Grace is about how not only are we saved by grace, but we are perfected and sanctified by Christ’s work on our behalf.
Click here for full review.
The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What is the truth of the cross? It may sound to many like a very simple question. Yet we live in a time where the truth and reason for Christ’s death has become hijacked by many who have made something entirely different of it. People like Brian McLaren appear to be reinventing the purpose of Christ’s death while others like Rob Bell have determined that Christ’s sacrifice was a sort of psychological relief to get people to realize that they did not need to sacrifice animals to please God (see Drops Like Stars, Love Wins, and his tour video The Gods Aren’t Angry).
It is in this time that books like RC Sproul’s The Truth of the Cross become more and more essential to the preservation of the truth of our faith. In his easy conversational style, Sproul begins at the beginning (a very good place to start) and describes our desperate need for a Savior. He walks us through the covenant that God made with Abraham to bless all the nations through him. Sproul then analyzes our vast debt of sin and the impossibility of our repayment.
The Priest with Dirty Clothes by R.C. Sproul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What subject would think to show up in the court of a king in filth? That is just the mistake that a newly ordained priest named Jonathan has no choice, but to make. You see, as he travels to preach a sermon in the castle he falls from his horse and right into the mud. Poor Jonathan tries to get new clothes and to have his cleaned, but alas it is no use. He must face the king and hope that he will be shown mercy, knowing that his very life is at stake.
Based on the vision of the High Priest in Zechariah 3:1-5, RC Sproul tells this engaging story to illustrate how not only did Christ give himself to pay for our sins, but that because of his death and resurrection we also inherit his righteousness as our own. Clothed in his robes, our heavenly Father accepts us as his own children, counting no sin against us and recording Christ’s good work as our own.
With soft and colorful illustrations by Justin Gerard, The Priest with Dirty Clothes teaches children and adults alike the beauty of Christ’s work and the assurance that we can stand before the throne of God with no fear.
At one point in the story Jonathan is urged to ask the bishop for another set of clothes because his cannot be washed. In such simple terms, Sproul teaches that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a message of second chances, in fact we are given none. God is just in his condemnation of all sin and sinners alike. Yet the gracious mercy of our Lord Jesus means that we have freely been given not a new start, but a new life that has already been lived by Christ himself.
As with Sproul’s other children’s books, this one is sure to be a treasure to you and to your child as you continue to grow in the knowledge of our Savior.
[A copy of this book was provided by the publisher as compensation for this review. However, reviews are not required to be positive; my opinions are fully expressed in my reviews.]