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Keith Plant

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HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH & MALACHI (Focus on the Bible Commentaries)
HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH & MALACHI (Focus on the Bible Commentaries)
by John L. Mackay
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.94

4.0 out of 5 stars A good straightforward commentary., 8 Aug 2014
This is a useful enough commentary on these three books. As always with Christian focus publications the writer opens up the text in a clear and helpful way and is not over technical in his approach to translation unless completely necessary for understanding the text. As such this is a useful commentary which would help anyone get orientated in the book from that point of view of preaching it or leading Bible studies. That said it would also be very useful if you are just reading through the book for your own devotion and edification. I've used it when I preach true Malachi and also parts of Zechariah and found it very helpful.


The Ladder
The Ladder
Price: 8.52

5.0 out of 5 stars One of Yes's best non 70s album!, 7 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Ladder (Audio CD)
This was definitely a return to form for Yes. It probably helped that they had Bruce Fairbairn producing for them as this may have reined in some of the excesses which had slighly marred the longer pieces on the 'Rite to Ascension' albums. Instead we get a much more focused group which is seen in the construction of the first track 'Homeworld' as despite being a longer song it just flies by. There are many other highlights on this album but I want to pick out what I think are the most notable. I really do think that 'It would be a good day' is one of the most beautiful tracks Yes have produced. Featuring Steve Howe's beautiful guitar work and making good use of Billy Sherwood's interesting rhythm guitar this showcases the band at its simplest and best and for me it is the classic that got away. 'The messenger' is an interesting excursion into a reggae theme song is also excellent. But for me the high point of the album is 'New languages' as all the essential Yes elements are here but with a contemporary sounding spin. Basically practically every song on this album deserves a mention because the band are firing on all cylinders here! Although he was to depart (and from what we hear, under a cloud) Igor Khoroshev manages to banish the thought of a certain former group member in the keyboard department and Chris Squire and Alan White after so many years playing together have the rhythm section nailed firmly down. Soon afterwards the group was reduced to the regulars of Anderson, Howe, Squire and White and they were to find a new interesting direction with an orchestra on their next album. However, this was nice while it lasted!


Nine Day Queen of England: Lady Jane Grey
Nine Day Queen of England: Lady Jane Grey
by Faith Cook
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.05

5.0 out of 5 stars Lady Jane Grey at last put in context!, 7 Aug 2014
The life of Lady Jane Grey and the historical events that surround it have all too often been betrayed in a romanticised light or suffered from historians with a very one-sided agenda. Faith Cook's excellent book on the subject gets behind the scenes which is incredibly helpful in understanding the events of that time. Firstly, she delves into the religious climate which is essential if we are to understand the events that then unfold and secondly she picks up on the political manoeuvring in which Lady Jane Grey very much became an unwitting pawn. This however is never at the expense of the character of Lady Jane Grey herself who comes across as a young lady of deep religious conviction (she corresponded with most of the leading reformers of that time) and quite extraordinary intellect. In the end of Faith Cook managed to paint the big picture of the national events with a more intimate picture of an extraordinary young lady who was at the mercy of the events and the ambitious people that surrounded her and yet died showing incredible bravery.


From Fear to Faith
From Fear to Faith
by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Clear biblical teaching on the sovereignty of God!, 6 Aug 2014
This review is from: From Fear to Faith (Paperback)
I first read this about 33 years ago and it opened my eyes to understanding the sovereignty of God. It is basically the good doctor's sermons as he preaches through the book of Habakkuk as it charts the prophets reaction from his cry to God to act in judgement against his rebellious people to horror at the message of God's means of judgement and then his patient faith until being rewarded with an answer which demonstrates God's sovereignty over all he has created. I have used it in recent years to preach through the book myself both in my last church and the one I'm presently pastoring. It is not a commentary as such but it is a thorough and wonderfully easy to read pastoral exposition of the book and so should definitely be read a long-side other commentaries on Habakkuk. All in all I cannot overemphasise well how worthwhile it would be buying this and having it on your bookshelf full preaching, leading Bible studies or using for your private devotions.


Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: 11.08

4.0 out of 5 stars A quick flight back to the psychedelic 60s!, 5 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
Fancy a trip back to the psychedelic 60s? Well take a flight with Jefferson Aeroplane and you'll be there before you know it! These five albums are incredibly good value for money and chart what is probably the most interesting and productive time in the history of the group. The first 'Jefferson Aeroplane takes off' is interesting but not so radically different from what other groups were doing at that time (hence it just stops this is being a five-star review). So the collection really gets going with 'Surrealistic Pillow' with the addition of Grace Slick's vocals and writing. I think it's fair to say from that point on the albums get progressively better and far more psychedelic. The last album in the collection is the live one and live albums can sometimes be a bit of a mixed bag, but in the main this is genuinely interesting and gives an indication of what an fascinating group Jefferson Aeroplane were. Too many interesting tracks to single out any, my advice is immerse yourself in the music and be amazed!


BUILDING FOR GODS GLORY ZECHARIA: Haggai and Zechariah Simply Explained (Haggai & Zechariah)
BUILDING FOR GODS GLORY ZECHARIA: Haggai and Zechariah Simply Explained (Haggai & Zechariah)
by BENTLEY MICHAEL
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A good commentary at a good price!, 5 Aug 2014
I have used this several times when preaching through Haggai, but also when I preach certain sections of Zechariah and I found it incredibly useful. It is typical of the Welywn commentaries, a good overview of the passage with plenty of clear explanation and of much practical pastoral insight. As is usual in that series it is not aiming to be particularly academic. However, don't let that put you off because there is much here that is useful. I have often found Welwyn commentaries to be the most insightful and helpful when I'm working through a book of the Bible as, apart from anything else, they certainly do orientate you properly in the passage and its context. So this is great for Bible study or sermon preparation, although if preparing to preach the book it would be worth looking at it with other commentaries which is not a criticism just good practice. All this at a very reasonable price!


Open Your Eyes
Open Your Eyes
Price: 7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A curious misfire from yes, 3 Aug 2014
This review is from: Open Your Eyes (Audio CD)
This is a curious misfire by Yes in that none of it is so terrible that it's unbearable it's just rather bland for a group like Yes who have scaled such impressive heights of originality and inspiration musically in the past. Okay to clarify what I mean. In the 70s Yes were virtually untouchable even their flawed albums were generally worth a high rating. In the 80s they still managed to produce at least one classic album with the change of direction that resulted in 90125 and that's what makes this so disappointing. As I said none of this is outright bad and tracks like 'New state of mind', 'Open your eyes'' and 'From the balcony' are more of what we expect from Yes. Some others like 'Universal garden' come close to that. But that's it as everything else is not bad but disappointing for Yes. From what I've heard this is an album that was put together together quickly with the main contributors being Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood with Steve Howe and Joan Anderson making limited contributions because a record contract was on offer and they needed to get an album out. If that is the case it explains a lot. I must admit having seen Yes when they toured when this was out it was good to still see them on great form live. It's just a pity this album is only worth 2 1/2 stars (which I would give it if I could). Fortunately they would get it together a couple of years later when they produced The Ladder.


The Message of Judges (The Bible Speaks Today)
The Message of Judges (The Bible Speaks Today)
by Michael Wilcock
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.37

4.0 out of 5 stars Worth having on your bookshelf if you are studying Judges!, 2 Aug 2014
As with most Bible Speaks Today commentaries this is reasonably easy enough to read and it goes into enough detail if you are preparing sermons or leading Bible studies. I use this when leading Bible studies at the church I pastor when we went right through the book of Judges and I found it to be very useful. Judges is not an easy book for our modern sensibilities but Michael Wilcock is a great guide and this along with his commentary in the same series on Revelation is one of his best commentaries. As with all Bible Speaks Today commentaries this is reasonably priced and if you are doing preparation on a passage is well worth buying. It is also a useful book if you are aiming to just understand the book of Judges in your own Bible study. Probably worth another half star but the Amazon star rating system doesn't accommodate this.


A Commentary on 1& 2 Corinthians
A Commentary on 1& 2 Corinthians
by Charles Hodge
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly and good value!, 2 Aug 2014
If you're looking at commentary that goes into the text in great detail and also give much pastoral application then you really can't go wrong with the Banner of Truth Trust series. This commentary from Charles Hodge ticks all the boxes in those departments and has a kind of scholarly approach that you'd expect from someone of his stature (he was Professor of exegetical and didactic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary). That said, the text is readable despite the considerable detail. This is an excellent resource if you're preaching through these books. It would also be ideal for Bible study, although if you are just doing private study and wish to acquaint yourself with the book of 1 and 2 Corinthians you might find this a bit heavyweight. Nevertheless it is an excellent price for a commentary on the two books in hardback. A must have on your bookshelf if you're preaching through these books and worth half a star more could give it that.


Leviticus (EP Study Commentary)
Leviticus (EP Study Commentary)
by John D. Currid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.71

4.0 out of 5 stars Not just a scholarly commentary, but easy to read as well!, 31 July 2014
This is a very worthwhile commentary to have in your collection as it is a very easy to read but scholarly in its approach. What is always good with the EP study commentaries is that not only are they good with the text, dealing with few verses at a time with a thorough exegesis (basically what the text means) but they are good on application as well as this is dealt with at the end of each chapter. John Currid is an incredibly able Bible scholar who provides his own translation of the text and I have enjoyed his commentaries on Deuteronomy in Genesis in this series as well. So if you're taking a dive into the deep end when preparing sermons or Bible studies on Leviticus then this is a great place to start, particularly as it is so reasonably priced for a hardback. I'm almost tempted to give it five stars but I think Wenham's commentary on Leviticus just pips it at the post in terms of sheer quality and helpfulness as I have been using both as I do a short sermon series in Leviticus at the church I pastor.


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