For the month of July, Christian Audio is offering a free download of Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Ian and Larissa Murphy.
“What if that thing you really feared happened? Would the joy you hold pop? Or would you experience love and joy deeper than you can imagine?
They met in college and fell in love. They talked about getting married, and he started looking for a ring. They dreamed about life together, a life of beauty and joy, raising babies and laughing with friends and growing old.
They did not imagine a car accident. They did not imagine his brain injury. They did not dream about the need for constant care and a wheelchair and fear that food might choke him.
And they could not have imagined how persistent love would be. Theirs and God’s.
Ian and Larissa Murphy tell their story of love in Eight Twenty Eight. Except, it’s not just their love story. Really, it’s yours as well. Read and gain a picture of love that will challenge all you think you know about what is true and what persists.”
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Christian Overtakes Faithful
Christian caught up to Faithful, who had been with him in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Along their journey, they enjoyed fellowship and encouraged one another with stories of the people they met, the spiritual battles they fought and the victories they tasted, by the grace of God. As they continued walking, they met Talkative, who initially appeared to be very interested in spiritual talk and verbal religion. Faithful was impressed, but Christian warned him not to be deceived by his words. It turned out that Talkative could “talk the talk”, but he did not “walk the walk” wholeheartedly, because his life did not exhibit the elements of a heart truly changed by the Gospel. As Faithful challenged Talkative by asking hard questions, he got uncomfortable and chose to leave.
The pilgrims were met by Evangelist who told them of the hardship they would face shortly. The two approached Vanity Fair, a place of trials and temptations. Merchandise was on sale, things of worldly value that lured them, but they set their eyes on things above and refused to do business with them. Thus, they were beaten and put in prison for their noncompliance, yet they continued to display Christian conduct, which eventually won some of the townspeople over, causing more conflict at the fair. Christian and Faithful were presented at a trial before Lord Hate-good. The jury members all testified against Faithful and found him guilty and punishable by death. It happened just as Evangelist had said. Faithful was martyred and taken to the Celestial Gate by horses and sounds of a trumpet.
The Reforming Families 2015 Conference was held two weeks ago with the theme “The Christian’s War Against The World.” Speakers at the conference included Steve Ham, Joel Beeke, and Michael Barrett; you can listen to the audio here.
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For the month of June, Christian Audio is offering John MacArthur’s Being A Dad Who Leads for free download.
“As a Christian father, you bear a tremendous responsibility–to raise your children through both biblical instruction and personal example. But how can you succeed in a society that attacks the role of fatherhood and godly family values? Are you sometimes tempted to give in or give up? In Being A Dad Who Leads John MacArthur reinforces that the rewards are well worth making the effort to stand firm and that God will enable you every step of the way.”
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The Valley of Humiliation/Combat with Apollyon
Christian descends the hill and enters the Valley of Humiliation. Discretion, Piety and Charity do not go with him, but they give him bread, wine and raisins and send him on his way. In the valley, a beast named Apollyon meets Christian. Apollyon begins by questioning Christian and reminding him of his unfaithfulness, in hopes of persuading him to abandon God. Upon Christian’s refusal to deny God, the beast resorts to force and the two engage in combat. Eventually Christian is successful in piercing Apollyon with his two-edged sword, forcing the beast to leave.
The rest after the battle was only short-lived because Christian continues into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where two men approach him and urges him to turn back. Yet Christian presses on. The valley was surrounded by dangers, with a ditch on the right and a quag on the left. In the darkness of the valley, Christian was confused by blasphemous thoughts whispered to him by a fiend, which he thought were his own thoughts. Even so, hope remains in the valley as Christian hears a man’s voice, showing that he is not alone and that God is with him. At the end, he sees Faithful and tries to catch up to him.
1. What spiritual battles do you fight in your day-to-day life? How does the enemy most often attack you?
2. In what ways can the companionship of other Christians help a person to endure the valley? How has God used relationships with other believers to strengthen your faith?
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—— 鄧肯（J. Ligon Duncan III）
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The Hill of Difficulty
Christian, Formalist and Hypocrisy reached a hill called Difficulty where there was a spring at the bottom. Formalist and Hypocrisy saw that the hill was steep and high, and went on two other ways, namely on the road of Danger and Destruction. However, Christian sought to climb the steep hill and halfway up, he rested at an arbour. He fell into a slumber but was awakened after. Timorous and Mistrust met him at the top of the hill and they were on their way back down. They found the danger of lions too daunting, but Christian pressed on. He wanted to pull out the roll he received from the Shining Ones to comfort himself but he could not find it. Christian realized he lost it when he fell asleep and was distressed. He went back to look for the roll and repented of his foolish decision to sleep. At last, he found the roll and was overjoyed.
There was a palace called Beautiful where Christian wanted to lodge. The Porter introduced him to Prudence, Piety and Charity who inquired Christian of his journey so far. They strengthened him with God’s word and showed him some of the rarities of the palace, including the armour of God and many other excellent things. When Christian was fully armed, he asked the porter if there were any other pilgrims. The porter said there was one called Faithful, which Christian recognized as a neighbour from the same place he came from. So Christian continued on his way.
1. What is the significance of the hill called Difficulty? What kind of hills have you experienced that have challenged you as a Christian?
2. What does Christian’s slumber represent? How does this sort of spiritual “sleep” affect a person’s sense of assurance?
3. Why is it important for believers to share their stories with one another?
4. Christian was asked to answer many questions about his journey. After learning about Christian’s failures and shortcomings, how did the people of the house treat him? What can we learn from this, and how can we apply it to our own churches?
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A new issue of Credo Magazine has been published with the title “The Forgotten God: Divine Attributes We Are Ashamed Of and Why We Shouldn’t Be”; download it here. This issue’s contributors include Michael Haykin, David Murray, and Bruce Ware.
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There is another free eBook deal from David C. Cook for Be Joyful (Philippians) from the BE Series Commentary by Warren Wiersbe; you can download it here.
“In spite of his dire situation as a prisoner in a Roman jail, Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi overflows with joy. Discover Paul’s secret to finding joy in Christ as Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe leads you on a verse-by-verse tour through the book of Philippians. Take notice of Paul’s single-minded focus on Jesus and learn how your joy can also be complete in Christ.”
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Proceeds to the Cross
Christian continues on his way, walking on a highway fenced on either side by a wall called Salvation. At last, the burden falls from his back and leaves Christian glad and light. Three Shining Ones approach him and salute him, proclaiming that his sins are forgiven, stripping him of his rags and clothing him with new robes, setting a mark in his forehead and giving him a roll with a seal upon it.
Christian Saluted by the Three Shining Ones
Christian sees three men who are fast asleep. Their names are Simple, Sloth and Presumption. He tries to wake them and warn them of possible danger but they turn Christian away and continue to sleep. Christian meets Formality and Hypocrisy who did not enter through the gate, but chose to climb over the wall. They argue that it does not matter which way they get in as long as they are in, but Christian knows they are counted as thieves instead.
1. When did Christian become a Christian? What does it mean to have assurance of salvation?
2. What can we learn from the other travelers like the three sleeping men, Formalist and Hypocrisy?
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