“The little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.” Really? Let’s not forget that the Lord Jesus was also the human newborn baby Jesus, as we’re reminded in one of the best Christmas books ever—The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
Imogene had the baby doll but she wasn’t carrying it in the way she was supposed to, cradled in her arms. She had it slung up over her shoulder, and before she put it in the manger she thumped it twice on the back.
I heard Alice gasp and she poked me. “I don’t think it’s very nice to burp the baby Jesus,” she whispered, “as if he had colic.” Then she poked me again. “Do you suppose he could have had colic?”
I said, “I don’t know why n…
Mary wasn’t herself. Joseph had sensed some urgency in her request that he meet her at “their” tree. She was staring at the ground. She seemed burdened.
“Mary, is something wrong?”
She looked up at him intensely. “Joseph… I’m pregnant.”
A blast of shock and disbelief hit him, blowing away all his coherent thoughts for a moment. His legs quavered. He grabbed at the tree to steady himself. It felt solid, rooted.
He stared at her. He was numb. No words came. Everything seemed surreal.
Mary was still looking at him with her intense eyes. He saw no shame in them. No defensiveness, no defiance. Not even tears. They looked…innocent. And they were searching his eyes for an …
It is good news that we will never be thanked by God.
Not thanking us is a form of love.
We need to adjust our expectations of what it feels like to be loved by God compared to what it feels like to be loved by men.
(I made Abraham post this.)
Happy birthday, Abraham Piper. Thanks for all your work on the DG web site.
From the looks of it having a little one makes you happier than being a little one.
I suppose that’s what Jesus said: It is more blessed to give (which is what parents do) than to receive (which is what little ones do).
In both cases you have made one dad very glad, namely, me.
I love you.
I took a few days recently to put my sermons on Ruth into a small book that may be called A Sweet and Bitter Providence. One of the spillovers from that effort was a renewed sense of how much we need great stories that embody great truths.
Ruth and Boaz is a great love story. When a story is permeated with God and his vision of life, we get to watch truth happen. The beauty of truth is not explained to us. It is lived before us.
God’s truth concerning manhood and womanhood is beautiful. Most of us are so sinful that we don’t model it well. So we need teaching and we need storytelling. And we need Christ to forgive us and renew us and send us back again and again into this truth...…
The last reference to John the Baptist in our four Gospels is in the final week of Jesus’ life. Jesus mentioned him to explain this astonishing statement to the chief priests and elders:
Truly , I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. (Matthew 21:31)
How in the world can a prostitute enter heaven before a priest?
For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. (Matthew 21:32)
The reason prostitutes are entering heaven before priests is that they believed John.
If you are a prostitute…
Today is the 400th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest English poets, John Milton (December 9, 1608 – November 8, 1674).
His greatest work, the epic poem Paradise Lost, was dictated between 1658 and 1664. He had become totally blind by 1654.
It begins with this prayer (to the Holy Spirit?), and covers the sweep of history from Adam to Christ:
Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse...
But in spite of the magnificent scope of the epic, m…
We are a people of promise. For centuries, God prepared people for the coming of his Son, our only hope for life. At Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises God made—that he would give a way to draw near to him.
Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas. It begins four Sundays before December 25. The first Advent Sunday this year was November 30. For four weeks, it’s as if we’re re-enacting, remembering, the thousands of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God’s salvation, for Jesus.
That’s what the word advent means—coming. Even God’s prophets who foretold the grace that was to come didn’t know “what person or time …
Here is a three-second experience that might encourage you.
I was sitting at my desk slowly reading and praying over Job 29 and 30. The thought came over me that at this moment I am pain-free. In fact, I feel very good. I feel warm and content. Almost cozy. As if in a blanket by a fire on a cold evening with a good book and a friend.
The next thought that came over me—came over is what I mean—was that this pain-free euphoria will not last. My back pain will increase. My joints will stiffen. My eyes will grow dim. My hearing will become more muffled. My memory will weaken. My mind will slow down. My balance will make me stumble. And warm moments like this will decrease to the point w…
I gave a presentation at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, last month titled "Why God Is Not a Megalomaniac in Demanding to Be Worshiped."
It is probably the shortest public presentation I have made in the last 20 years! The reason is that I wanted to leave time for questions and criticism. So more than 25 of the 45 minutes allotted to me was Q&A. If we can get the audio recording, we will post it.
But for now, here are seven theses that summarize what I am on the planet to communicate.