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This book is designed to portray biblical spirituality as believers in the God of the Bible express it. It takes a collection of fifteen psalms, conveniently lumped together in the Hebrew canon. The collection of Psalms 120–134 all bear the same title: A Song of Ascents.
Designed to go through the 14 Psalms in 14 days:
Each day, spending time in one of these psalms. Read the psalm, pray over it, make notes from what you think God might be teaching you. As you read the chapter for that day, keep a journal. Donald Whitney has written:
A journal is one of the best places for charting your progress in the Spiritual Disciplines and for holding yourself accountable to your goals.
At the end of each psalm there are some questions to ‘stir the juices’, as it were. There are no strict rules, except the need for honesty. Writing down how we respond to God’s teaching can stir the affections in a way that nothing else can.
Originally from Wales, Dr. Derek Thomas is the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi. After pastoring for 17 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dr Thomas returned to the USA in 1996 where, in addition to his work at the seminary, he servesas the Minister of Teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson.
‘If you have ever wondered what it means to “be spiritual,” you’re not alone. And the answer is simpler than you might expect: Christian spirituality is a lifelong immersion in the gospel–God’s disclosure of himself in Christ. In A voyage of discovery, Derek Thomas steers us away from the swamps of mysticism, personal experiences, ecstasy, and introspection, and toward the firm foundation of Scripture. So let him lead you through this study of Psalms 120–134 so that you might understand and experience what it means to be truly spiritual.’
C.J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries
`The psalms, with their kaleidoscopic expression of human emotions, their deep roots in Christ, and their confidence in God even amidst the suffering of the fallen world, have been central to the lives of Christians for centuries. In this book, Derek Thomas works with the eye of a theologian and the heart of a pastor, to bring them to bear on the lives of every believer. Here one will find a realistic understanding of life in this world, with its pain, frustrations, and passing joys, and a deep vision of the Lord Jesus Christ and his coming kingdom. A book that should re–energise all who read it.’
Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary
A new edition of this powerful book is most welcome. It might not be an easy read for a new Christian but it is certainly well written and a most thought-provoking read. In 14 serious chapters which each take at least 45 minutes to work through 'The ups and downs of the Christian life' is a real heart-warming and yet soul-searching study of the Psalms of Ascent.
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