Today 42 years ago, I met my wife. I like to mark the day and give thanks. Please indulge a grateful husband.
On the 40th anniversary of that day I wrote this poem. It’s still true. Happy Meeting Anniversary, Noël. Let’s go out tonight.
Six Six Sixty Six
And That Glad Afternoon
For some the summer marks the ripening
Of seeds sunk in the furrows of the spring,
Or bulbs long buried that return each year
By some in-built awareness: June is here!
But that is not what summer was in June
Of sixty-six for us the afternoon
We met in Fisher Hall. What happened there
Was not a ripening. It came from where
We did not know. We did not …
How does the promise in Psalm 1:3 point to Christ? It says, “In all that he does, he prospers.” The righteous prosper in everything they do. Is this naïve or profoundly true?
In this life the wicked often prosper.
- “Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” (Psalms 37:7)
- “Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.” (Malachi 3:15)
And in this life the righteous often suffer and their goodness is rewarded with abuse.
- “If we had forgotten the name of our God...would not God discover this? ... Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sh…
On July 18, 1738, two months after his conversion, Charles Wesley did an amazing thing. He had spent the week witnessing to inmates at the Newgate prison with a friend named “Bray,” who he described as “a poor ignorant mechanic.” One of the men they spoke to was “a black slave that had robbed his master.” He was sick with a fever and was condemned to die.
Wesley and Bray asked if they could be locked in overnight with the prisoners who were to be executed the next day. That night they spoke the gospel. They told the men that “one came down from heaven to save lost sinners.” They described the sufferings of the Son of God, his sorrows, agony, and death...
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The day before, Jesus had fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish. Then that night he walked miles across the Sea of Galilee before catching up with his disciples in their boat. The crowd had seen him send his disciples away in the only boat available. So the next day, when they found him in Capernaum, they knew he could have only got there miraculously. They wanted him to be their king.
Then he went and ruined everything. To his adoring fans Jesus said,
Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the S…
If there was pain before the Fall, it was only good. That is implied, I presume, in God’s calling his unfallen creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31), and in God’s promising that in new world there will be no crying “nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4). However, not many would use the word “pain” for something that is only good. It doesn’t appear that the Bible uses it that way either.
But pain in this fallen world is clearly bad and good. Reviewing a new book, Pain and Its Transformations, Philip Yancey questions whether pain originated with the fall: “The theologians blithely attribute pain to the fall, ignoring the marvelous design features of the pain system.” He documents the amazing…
I suspect Paul’s experience when he was caught up into paradise, while not absolutely normative, is at least a caution: Count the cost before you want to know Christ deeply or show him clearly.
“He heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (2 Corinthians 12:4). But there was a price to be paid for this extraordinary knowledge.
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). The way this thorn worked was to “beat” Paul (hina me kolaphize). That’s the meaning of the word in each of its other four uses in the New Testament.
But Paul concluded that it was doubly wort…
As I was working on the fifth volume of The Swans are Not Silent series about the lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John G. Paton, I found a letter written by Judson from Burma on June 25, 1832 with sobering counsel to missionaries.
Actually, these are hard and good words for all of us. Here are five of his points:
Fourthly. It may be profitable to bear in mind, that a large proportion of those who come out on a mission to the East die within five years after leaving their native land. Walk softly, therefore; death is narrowly watching your steps...
Sixthly. Beware of the greater reaction which will take place after you have acquired the languag…
May 29 is G. K. Chesterton’s 134th birthday. He was a British journalist and brilliant writer. Nobody exploits the power of paradox like Chesterton.
I celebrate his birthday by recommending his book Orthodoxy.
The title gives no clue as to what you will find inside. It had a huge influence on me forty years ago in ways that would have exasperated Chesterton. He did all he could to keep me from becoming a Calvinist, and instead made me a romantic one—a happy one...
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The insults fell on her like blows. “Shame on you, Whore!”
Imagine it. She was married, but not to the man whose arms she'd been in. Suddenly the door burst open. Angry men dragged her—and her secret sin—out into the street.
“Adulteress! Adulteress!” The words pierced her like arrows. A gathering crowd gawked at her with scorn. Her life was undone in a moment by her own doing.
And it was about to be crushed. They were talking about stoning! “O my God, they’re going to stone me! God have mercy!” But God’s verdict on her case seemed clear:
If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman and the woman. So…