This past summer, God gave the Jason Harms Quintet, the opportunity to spread the Gospel among the people of the Dominican Republic through jazz.
We were invited to play at a club in Santiago. The house band gave us a half-hour before they would take the stage that night. Once all the technical issues were worked out, we had about twenty minutes to play. We started our set and out of nowhere, it seemed, people began to fill the place.
The leader of the house band was so blessed with the music he became frustrated that the growing crowd wasn’t more attentive. They seemed to be enjoying the set, but he wanted them to enjoy it more.
After twenty minutes, he took the microphone a…
In the most cynical, unsympathetic, and misleading biography I have ever read, there is a magnificent paragraph about Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield.
The Deist and the Calvinist were best friends. “Franklin became Whitefield’s best American friend and, reciprocally, Whitefield was Franklin’s only evangelical friend” (The Divine Dramatist, 220).
Here is the diamond paragraph:
Here we see the greatest difference separating the religious worlds of Franklin and Whitefield. For Franklin, the experience of personal friendship could not be translated into an experience of personal faith. The result was profound pessimism. Ironically, Franklin’s personal religion w…
When the choice is between exalting God or exalting man, Satan is pro-man. When the choice is between exalting Satan or exalting man, Satan is pro-Satan. Here are the texts.
1. In Mark 8 Jesus told his disciples he must suffer. Peter rebuked Jesus! Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Mark 8:33).
So what Satan was standing up for in the mouth of Peter was “the things of man.” He was very pro-man at that point. Beware that not all philosophies and social movements that talk up man are really good for man.
2. In John 8 Jesus said the devil “was a murderer from the beginning, and h…
He was one of the walking dead. It had almost been three years since the priest examined that suspicious spot on his left arm and looked at him with sympathy, “I’m so sorry. It’s leprosy. May God have mercy on you, my son.”
Leprosy made you die many times before it killed you. It cut you off from those you loved most in the world. It forced you to live with other unclean people in a hopeless colony away from the town. Those with more advanced cases showed you what you had to look forward to.
It also forced you to scream “Unclean!” whenever people approached, and suffer the humiliation of watching them cover themselves and hurry by, cutting you a wide swath. And worst of all, it ex…
In New Testament times swords were not for digging, shaving, or whittling. They were for killing. The only reason Peter cut off Malchus’s ear was that he missed (John 18:10).
But Herod didn’t miss: “He killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:2).
Many saints have felt the full force of the sword: “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword” (Hebrews 11:37). So it was and will be: “If anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain” (Revelation 13:10).
That’s what swords are for. So when Paul calls the word of God the “sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6:17, he is serious—something must be put to death. And it …
Watching our children walk in the truth is high joy (3 John 1:4). Watching them walk away from it is crushing (2 Samuel 18:33).
To lay hold on this joy and to prevent this pain we must pray daily (sometimes hourly) and earnestly for our children. Here is a biblical list of what to pray.
Here are some ways to pray for yourself so that you're praying in sync with the way God works.
1. For the desire of my heart to be toward God and his Word.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to gain. (Psalm 119:36)
2. For the eyes of my heart to be opened.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law. (Psalm 119:18)
3. For my heart to be enlightened with these “wonders.”
[I pray] that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. (Ephesians 1:18)
4. For my heart to be united, not divided, for God.
O Lord, I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. (Psalm 86:11) …
Reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ classic Spiritual Depression would be a strong way to start the new year.
The title can be a tad deceiving. It’s not merely a book for those with a pronounced sense of spiritual depression. It’s a book for all Christians—for the daily spiritual depressions we all face this side of heaven.
Lloyd-Jones ends his second chapter with these challenging and refreshing words:
Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression? The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past. Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ. Never look back at your sins again. Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by th…
At Bethlehem we close prayer week with a focus on the value of reading and memorizing Scripture in the new year.
Justin Taylor has pulled together a list of possible ways to read the Bible in this new year.
I encourage all of us to take the first day of the year and plan how we are going to read the Bible. Don’t leave it to chance.
Update : I am going with the Discipleship Journal Plan for one main reason. Few things discourage us more from reading the Bible through in a year than falling behind. This plan gives five catch up days every month. This is absolutely golden! I just printed it out at 9 AM New Year’s Day.