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...
Read the rest of the article.
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…
One of the mercies of God that keeps me believing in him is that none of the events of history or of the news today, which seem to contradict God’s character, contradict God’s Word.
In other words, there are no surprise sins or surprise calamities in this world for those who know their Bibles.
The reason this sustains faith is that, if the very book that tells me about God’s wisdom and power and justice and love also tells me of the worst seeming contradictions of his character, then either I never should have believed the God of this book, or I shouldn’t lose my faith now.
This is a weekend for remembering the ones who died in our nation’s service. For me, the memories are mostly of high school friends who died in Vietnam.
Today, my heart goes out especially to the ones whose memories are fresh and raw, hardly far enough in the past to be called “memory”—friends and family of American military personnel who will not return to them from the Middle East.
Here and there around the cemetery this morning were old men and women, caring for and adorning graves already well-tended. I imagined that they were honoring a friend or family member who died in World War II or in the Korean conflict.
This is a weekend for all Americans to give thanks for what…
There is a relationship between the sermon series that just ended at Bethlehem concerning our vision for the next generation and the book I just finished writing on the missionary sacrifices of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton.
When Iain Murray gives an account of the “rise of the missionary spirit” in Scotland in the 1800's he comments that “a new zeal to take the gospel to the world was born out of a new experience of its power.” Then he draws attention to the connection between the renewed homelife and the missionary upsurge:
Friends, parents, neighbors first it will embrace
Our country next, and next the human race.
Thank you for praying for me on my four week writing leave. It's over today. It was more productive than I thought it would be. Hence my heartfelt thanks. Four projects were more or less completed.
This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence - A book on marriage that exults mainly in its meaning not its emotion. But I do hope it helps people keep their covenant and be happier and make much of Christ. There is no marriage in the resurrection, hence “This Momentary Marriage.” And marriage mainly means: Christ keeps covenant with his church, hence “The Parable of Permanence.”
Finally Alive: What Happens When We are Born Again - A book about the miracle of sovereign, regenerating…