One of the marks of our church is the aroma of Christian Hedonism. This is the biblical truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The basis for this is deep, and the implications are as high as infinity and as long as eternity (both directions).
One place to see the basis is Philippians 1:20-21, where Paul says his “eager expectation and hope [is] that . . . Christ will . . . be honored in my body . . . by death. For to me . . . to die is gain.” His passion is that Christ be magnified in his death. Paul’s explanation is that for him “death is gain.” The reason death is gain is that to die is “to depart and be with Christ” (verse 23).
Therefore, Paul b…
Tremper Longman has produced another beneficial resource for reading and rightly appropriating the Old Testament. This time it’s How to Read Exodus.
Tremper is particularly gifted at engaging with an impressive breadth of Old Testament scholarship. And he does this with an authentic and relentlessly Christ-centered bent, solidly evangelical convictions, and the ability to distill and articulate his findings in such a way that scholars, pastors, and laymen alike get real help.
There are 3 other titles in the “How to Read” series:
For introductory help for every Old Testament book, I highly rec…
This is the speech I expected the President to give to our children—excellent.
Given that he is not directing them to Christ, which would be the best counsel, his advice is a wonderful gift of common grace from God to the students of our land.
If you settle for the news headlines that say the president tells the kids to wash their hands and take care of the environment, you will miss the wisdom and courage in this speech. Within its spiritual limitations it is simply amazing.
You can read it all at the White House Site. Here are my excerpts.
- I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
- I’ve talked about your…
I am stunned at the outcry against the President of the United States speaking to the youth of this nation about the importance of education.
I am embarrassed by the governor of my home state saying that the president’s plan to address them is “disruptive . . . uninvited . . . and number three . . . I don’t think he needs to force it upon the nation’s school children.”
This speech seems, for me, to be an answer to a prayer that I have prayed for the president repeatedly.
Father, the condition of our schools and families is so broken that nothing seems to be working, especially for the poor in our urban centers. Help our president to have the courage to use his amazing…
What happened to Demas?
We don’t know. All we know is that some of the last words the Apostle Paul wrote before his Roman execution expressed a heartbreak: “Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10).
Maybe Demas feared being executed with Paul and fled to safety. Or maybe he succumbed to immorality. Or maybe he simply caved in to the relentless temptation of a more comfortable, prosperous life in the large, cosmopolitan, pluralistic, wealthy, culturally interesting city of Thessalonica.
Whatever it was, Paul saw it as embracing the world.
But just a few sentences later in this letter to Timothy, Paul says something …
The historic and contemporary reality of slavery is never far away from how we think about the Bible. Instead of a frontal attack on the culturally pervasive institution of slavery in his day, Paul took another approach, for example, in his letter to Philemon.
Onesimus was a slave. His master Philemon was a Christian. Onesimus had evidently run away from Colossae (Colossians 4:9) to Rome where Paul, in prison, had led him to faith in Jesus. Now he was sending Onesimus back to Philemon. This letter tells Philemon how to receive Onesimus.
In the process, Paul does at least 11 things that work together to undermine slavery...
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Here is the answer of the poet Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774), from his poem "The Traveler."
For praise too dearly loved, or warmly sought,
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought;
And the weak soul, within itself unblessed,
Leans for all pleasure on another’s breast.
So close and yet, I fear, so far. For Goldsmith means we are unblessed because we do not bless ourselves.
The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws
Nor weighs the solid worth of self applause.
There is another way to be set free from “praise too dearly loved” and from the power of “shifting fashion.” Our unblessed soul was made for God. Our head was made to …
Pastor Tim Smith of Mars Hill church in Seattle did a brief (7.5 minute) interview with me at a recent conference on how Desiring God got started 15 years ago.
Have you ever wondered why “sanctification” is missing from this golden chain in Romans 8:29-30?
Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Foreknown, predestined, called, justified, __________, glorified. Shouldn’t “sanctified" fill in that blank space? Romans 6:22 says that believers receive “sanctification and its end, eternal life.” And 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says that we are “saved, through sanctification by the Spirit.”
The Hebrew Scriptures point to Jesus in a myriad of ways. One way is narrative patterns, like the one in Esther 9:1:
On the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.
And so it happened at the cross. At the very moment when the Enemy of the True Jew hoped to gain the mastery over Jesus, the reverse occurred: Jesus gained mastery over the one who hated him.
God has innumerable ways of pointing us to his Son—after all, according to Colossians 1:16–17, all the universe is in Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus.
If all the universe, then how much more the Scri…