It is essential to say grand old truths again and again. There is ample evidence in the Bible that they are quickly forgotten.
Remember, there are different kinds of forgetting.
One is that great truths are gone out of the mind never to return. The other is that they are gone out of the mind for a season (a day, a year) while we languish in discouragement and sin.
Don’t follow Israel here:
“And the people of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side.” (Judges 8:34)
Rather, submit to Peter:
“I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the…
To mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of the modern State of Israel, let’s listen to a voice from 100 years before this state was born.
Who was it that said in 1867 that the existence of the Jews in the modern world was an insurmountable obstacle in the way of reasonable unbelief? It was J. C. Ryle. And who was he? J. I. Packer, quoting Richard Hobson and calling it a “just estimate,” describes Ryle like this:
He was great in stature; great in mental power; great in spirituality; great as a preacher and expositor of God’s most holy Word; great in hospitality; great as a writer of Gospel tracts; great as an author of works that will long live; great as a Bishop of the Re…
The following meditation comes from my devotional lingering over Psalm 96:7. All the modern versions translate it, “Ascribe to the Lord...strength” (ESV, NIV, NASB). Only the KJV renders it with the literal, “Give unto the Lord...strength.”
There’s nothing unusual about this Hebrew word “give” (yahab). It’s used over sixty times in the Old Testament in all the ordinary ways the word give is used.
The word ascribe in Psalm 96:7 is an interpretation. It’s a paraphrase. It’s a good interpretation, I think, but, as with all paraphrases, it short circuits our reflection...
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As the carnage from Cyclone Nargis moves toward 50,000 dead and beyond, there is a way to pray and act:
1. Be softened to the pain nearby.
The Good Samaritan knew nothing of the calamities in first century Burma, but was commended by the Lord for mercies at hand (Luke 10:25-37).
2. Pray for the followers of Christ in Myanmar:
- That they would be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10; 100:3).
- That they would be awakened from the illusion that this life is long or sure or the main point of eternal existence (James 4:14).
- That they would be given a new vision of the supreme value of Christ who promises his followers that famine, nakedness, and death will n…
Luke says it so quickly, so matter-of-factly: “[Herod] killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:2). In the flow of the story this little phrase sets the stage for Peter’s dramatic prison rescue by the angel. So that’s what we remember. When Peter later wrote, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials” (2 Peter 2:9), this is the sort of rescue that easily comes to mind.
But the night that James sat in prison the angel didn’t come. I’m sure he prayed for an angel. He knew God could send one if he wanted to. An angel had already rescued him and the other disciples once before, in chapter 5. But this night there was no bright light, no chains falling off, no sleep…
God motivates us to feel and to do what we should by calling to our minds his past performances of love and his future promises of love—some near, some far.
Be sure that you are connected to the way God means to motivate you with the backward look and the distant forward look and the near forward look. For example:
Motivation by the backward look:
Forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Motivation by the distant forward look:
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. (Matthew 5:12)
Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we s…
To lay a trap for an animal there has to be some truth to attract him. It must at least look like a meal even if the iron clamps lie just beneath. Mark says the Pharisees came “to trap" Jesus. So they put some truth over the trap. They said,
“Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God.” (Mark 12:14)
This is amazing insight coming from those who do not live it. Appearances were everything to the Pharisees. “They do all their deeds to be seen by others” (Matthew 23:5). It is frightening how much theological and moral wisdom can be spoken and not lived.
Twice they sa…
When we work as unto the Lord we serve others even more excellently than if serving them were our main goal. Working as unto the Lord does not mean serving God instead of other people.
Paul tells slaves to obey their masters—and not just to obey, but to obey in everything. It sounds absurd, but he explains:
Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men…. You are serving the Lord Christ.
So slaves should obey their masters completely (at least completely enough that Paul didn’t feel a need to qualify). Apparently complete obedience to their masters is a key part of how they really serve Jesus, not their masters.
They serve Jesus by working even …
I have suggested that we should dream of ways to make much of Christ in the way we use our economic stimulus checks that will be arriving soon. That raises the question how we do that if our generosity should be done in secret. “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6.3). Here’s what I think the Bible says about that.
Jesus warns of two dangers when it comes to what unbelievers think of us...
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Elder D. J. Ward, pastor of Lexington's Main Street Baptist Church for the past 19 years, died of complications from lung cancer Friday at Hospice Care Center at St. Joseph Hospital. What the Lexington Herald-Leader did not say about this amazing African-American is that he was a powerful spokesman for the glorious God worshiped through the wall-to-wall window called Calvinism.
I thank God for the one conference we had together. He invited me to the Lexington Pastors’ Conference at his church. I had no idea there was such a self-consciously reformed gathering of mainly African-American pastors almost totally distinct, as far as I could tell, from the resurgence of younger black Reforme…