It is not a sign of a seasoned Christian soul that steady joy is untinged with steady sorrow.
Or to put it positively, the seasoned soul in Christ has a steady joy and a steady sorrow.
They protect each other. Joy is protected from being flippant by steady sorrow. Sorrow is protected from being fatal by steady joy.
And they intensify each other. Joy is made deeper by steady sorrow. Sorrow is made sweeter by steady joy.
For the seasoned Christian soul, I do not see how it can be otherwise while people are perishing and we are saved. I do not see how it can be otherwise while these two passages are written by the same inspired man:
I have great sorrow and unceas…
This is a plea that all of you would build into your lives both personal devotions and purposeful study of God’s word.
Daily prayerful meditation seeking personal application of God’s word to your own heart and life.
Regular study in a class or with a book where the (living or dead) teacher has seen more than you have and can give you insight in 30 minutes that might otherwise take you ten years to see.
The reason I plead for both is that without a book or a class about what some part of the Bible means and a teacher who is ahead of you, your devotions will probably flatten out at a low level of insight.
Year after year you …
Clarence Thomas was confirmed to be a Supreme Court Justice on October 15, 1991 after one of the most divisive confirmation battles in history. He tells the story movingly in his autobiography My Grandfather’s Son.
What many may not know is how he handled the tidal wave of lurid accusation and public humiliation. Here is what he said.
I had been reading Bible verses all summer, and as the confirmation process ground on, I spent even more time doing so. I knew that many good people were working tirelessly to help get me confirmed, but that knowledge no longer calmed my nerves or lifted my spirits. The more hopeless things appeared and the more vulnerable I felt, the more I …
Jesus is going to return to earth. I pray very soon. He said that before he comes—periodically throughout history—some people would think he has already come.
If they say to you, "Look, he is in the wilderness," do not go out. If they say, "Look, he is in the inner rooms," do not believe it. (Matthew 24:26)
Then he gave two reasons not to believe such rumors.
The first is that his coming will be globally unmistakable. It will be as publicly unmistakable as lightning.
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:27)
The second reason for not believing these rumors…
Here is a simple exhortation that I have been trying to implement in our family:
Seek to see and feel the gospel as bigger as years go by rather than smaller.
Our temptation is to think that the gospel is for beginners and then we go on to greater things. But the real challenge is to see the gospel as the greatest thing—and getting greater all the time.
The Gospel gets bigger when, in your heart,
- grace gets bigger;
- Christ gets greater;
- his death gets more wonderful;
- his resurrection gets more astonishing;
- the work of the Spirit gets mightier;
- the power of the gospel gets more pervasive;
- its global extent gets wider;
Jesus tells of two sons:
What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” And he answered, “I will not,” but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, “I go, sir,” but did not go. (Matthew 21:28-30)
I draw this advice for parents from these words: Do not despair of the rebel, and do not assume the heart of the compliant child is with you.
Which means practically, pray like crazy for both of them. And keep showing both of them the gospel of undeserved, blood-bought grace.
A few months ago he was worth over $800 million. Now, at age 70, he sits in this prison cell, 7.5 by 8 feet, with a sink, a toilet, and a bunk. Bernard Madoff went there last Thursday after being under house arrest in his $7 million penthouse since December.
He pleaded guilty on March 12 to eleven charges, all related to the biggest investor fraud ever committed by a single person—$65 billion. He has left hundreds of people in ruins.
Is not God good to be so aggressive in trumpeting the truth of his word in the news for all to see! Was there ever a clearer witness to the truth of 1 Timothy 6:9-10?
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into…
Sometimes the slogan “All truth is God’s truth” is used to justify dealing in any sphere of knowledge as an act of worship or stewardship. The impression is given that just knowing God’s truth and recognizing it as such is a good thing, even a worthy end. But the problem with this is that the devil does it.
“If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (1 Corinthians 8:2-3). Which I take to mean that until we know in such a way that we love God more because of it, we do not yet know as we ought to know...
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Today is Friday the 13th! Bad luck day.
In case this or any other superstition frightens you or, worse, controls you, take the sword of the Spirit and kill it.
Here’s a few sword thrusts that I use.
There is no enchantment against Jacob,
no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
“What has God wrought!” (Numbers 23:23)
Does this apply to us Christians? Yes. Because “It is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). That’s us. We are Jacob. We are Israel.
And because we are, "all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
So in Christ we cannot be cursed. There is no …
If you want to know God better, it will be costly, and it will be worth it.
For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. (Ecclesiastes 1:18)
That is true. It’s true because the more we know...
- ...the more we know that we don’t know.
- ...the more we know that suffering abounds.
- ...the more we are accountable to live up to.
- ...the more dementia will take away.
But it is worth it.
There is gold and abundance of costly stones; but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. (Proverbs 20:15)
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)