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To view this newsletter on the Web, go to http://ccel.org/newsletter/6/12
In This Issue:
From the Director
How does one recognize a Christian classic, a book filled with the Spirit, a book that changes lives? One indication is Joy. Second only to love in Paul's Top Nine list of the fruit of the spirit, joy often appears in spirit-filled writings. There is a rejoicing in God and in the things of God. Curiously, this joy often arises in the midst of suffering.
Calvin says that "to whatever extent our minds are contracted by the bitterness which we naturally feel under the cross, to the same extent will they be expanded with spiritual joy." Julian's Revelations of Divine Love arise out of suffering, but the revelations are saturated with joy in God and his work. Jonathan Edwards points out that spiritual joy is not founded in any self-interest but in a contemplation of the divine and holy beauty of [divine] things. In fact, according to the Westminster Catechism, our chief end is to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."
In this Christmas season I pray that you will rejoice in God's work in the midst of your circumstances, whatever they may be.
The Fiesta in the Philippines
Anne Kwantes outlines the cultural and historical background of fiestas in the Philippines in an article published about ten years ago. Kwantes examines the role of the Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries in these celebrations and how these fiestas are sometimes associated with Christmas. The article concludes by asking questions about the extent to which missionaries should attempt to change cultural practices. Use the link below to share your thoughts on this topic.
What's New at the CCEL
While we continue to add books and features to CCEL, our electronic library often helps other individuals and groups create new projects of their own. Katy Bowser and Kenny Huton recently completed such a project. Their new CD, Ghostly Songs, is a musical collection of hymns translated from German. The title Katy explains, might be translated, "Songs that whisper of the Holy Ghost alive and giving life."
Their website states, "Most of our research, by the way, ended up being done through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library- a formidable project undertaken by the good folks at Calvin College. There we found- and you can, too- Catherine’s thoughtful collections of hymn translations from German, especially Lyra Germanica. You can [also] find The Christian Life ... [and other items related to this project]."
We rejoice with Katy and Kenny on the completion of this CD.
What We're ReadingTrue Vine: Meditations for a Month on John 15:1-16
by Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
Andrew Murray's True Vine is a thirty-one day devotional focusing on Christ's parable of the vine and the branches found in John 15. The devotional for each day, though short, elaborates and expounds upon John 15, providing spiritual insight along the way. Throughout the devotional, Murray builds upon various themes of the Christian faith, developing their importance with each daily passage. One primary example is the thematic importance of abiding in Christ. Countless small groups and individuals have found that Murray's keen spiritual teachings are fruitful and beneficial in the everyday walk with Christ. True Vine is an excellent devotional recommended for daily spiritual nourishment.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Featured Hymn"Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies" by Charles Wesley
Written by the great hymn writer Charles Wesley, this text was published in three stanzas in Hymns and Sacred Poems, compiled in 1740 by Charles Wesley and his brother John. James Montgomery called it "one of Charles Wesley's loveliest progeny.”
-The Psalter Hymnal
The text begins by placing the focus entirely on Christ, the "light of the world," and it is a joyful hymn that is often used during Advent.
Read more about Hymnary
"The Joy of the Lord, the Strength of His People" (sermon 1027)
Historically, sermon 1027 directly follows Spurgeon’s sermon entitle ‘Joy Born at Bethlehem,’ a message about the birth of our Savior bringing joy to the people of God. In a continuation of that sermon, Spurgeon focuses on two aspects of joy: “First, there is a joy of divine origin, [The joy of the Lord] and, secondly, that joy is to all who partake of it a source of strength [strength from joy]." Spurgeon also examines how Joy in Christ can lead to 'other expressions' of joy. Both of these sermons contain timely messages during the Christmas season.
Read this sermon at CCEL
Did You Know?
Visit the recently redesigned Read section of CCEL to view our Top Twelve Books -- a list of the twelve books that have received the most page views. In other words, these twelve books are the 'tried and true' CCEL Classics.
View the redesigned 'READ' section at CCEL
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