Yesterday Alexander Solzhenitsyn died at the age of 89. I pause here on my vacation in the woods of Wisconsin to say, Thank you, heavenly Father, for the inspiration of this man’s life.
No one did more than Solzhenitsyn to expose the horrors of the failed communist experiment in Russia. Hitler’s purge would pale, if such things could pale, when compared to ten times the carnage in Stalin’s gulags.
Solzhenitsyn inspired me because of the suffering he endured and the effect it had on him. Here is the quote that I have not forgotten. It moves me deeply to this day. After his imprisonment in the Russian gulag of Joseph Stalin’s “corrective labor camps” Solzhenitsyn wrote:
It was gr…
When Sam Crabtree (DG Board member and Executive Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist) recently asked us what he needed to do to get some DWYL stickers, Lukas Naugle replied that Sam needed to write a song about what a deacon does, since they've been discussing that at Bethlehem lately.
Sam, never one to back down from a challenge, has penned what I’m sure will be another classic hymn of the church:
A Mighty Deacon
(to the tune of “A Mighty Fortress”)
A mighty deacon is our man;
He does what others think he can.
Qualifications he doth meet.
Electing him they thinketh sweet.
And so they cast their vote;
They do not rock the boat.
Their craft and pow’…
Seeing Bathsheba bathing led to David’s adultery with her (2 Samuel 11:2-3).
David was a man after God’s own heart. David was born again. David wrote divinely inspired scripture. David was blessed with wisdom and power. David enjoyed an everlasting covenant relationship with God.
So what chance do you think you have to escape the effect of looking at naked women?
Those who are already gone—who’ve given up and forsaken their relationship with God—may say: Well, if you’ve seen it, you’ve done it. So might as well do it.
Those who are not yet gone may say, I will make a covenant with my eyes not to look upon a woman (Job 31:1).
May the Lord grant you grace to show that you are not…
Having just preached three messages on the relationship between baptism and church membership, here is a small follow up. Paul Jewett’s compelling book on infant baptism gives a clear and persuasive interpretation to a puzzling text.
Here’s the text and the interpretation.
“If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” (1Corinthians 7:13-14).
According to the interpretation we shall suggest, in 1 Corinthians 7:1…
Dear Friends at Bethlehem and Beyond,
I’m writing to invite you to an unusual conference. This Fall’s Desiring God National Conference is one of the most extraordinary we have conceived. Our expectations are very high that its effect will be mind-sharpening, heart-humbling, mouth-seasoning, backbone-strengthening, and Christ-acclaiming. Our theme is The Power of Words and the Wonder of God...
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Our grandson, Orison, is three years old. Judging by his interests during our Sunday afternoon backyard picnic, I would have said he was aspiring to stardom as an ace batter or as a trumpet player in a marching band (using the wiffle bat as his trumpet).
It would be fine if he achieved either of those goals. But I smiled when I read his mom’s blog this morning and glimpsed much deeper, higher, and broader possibilities: “Mom, I’m going to Kenya.”
That was make-believe, but games reflect a child’s desires and interests. My smile reached deep into my heart when I read Molly’s yearning that God make her ready for whatever he has for Orison in future years.
May we all pray with Moll…
Jonathan Edwards put it this way:
God doubtless will entertain his saints according to the state of the King of heaven, when he comes to entertain them at the feast that he has provided.... We read of Ahasuerus, a great king, when he made a feast unto all his princes and servants, he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the power of his excellent majesty, and gave drink in vessels of gold, and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king [Esther 1]. So doubtless the happiness of the saints in heaven shall be so great, that the very majesty of God shall be exceedingly shown in the greatness, and magnificence, and fullness of their enjoyments and delights…
My theology is the conviction that this quote from St. Augustine tells us more about God’s good design than our bad depravity.
The desire for happiness is not in myself alone or in a few friends, but is found in everybody. If we did not know this with certain knowledge, we would not want it with determination in our will. But what does this mean?
If two people are asked if they want to serve in the army, it may turn out that one of them replies that he would like to do so, while the other would not. But if they are asked whether they would like to be happy, each would at once say without the least hesitation that he would choose to be so. And the reason why one wo…
Short answer: No. God never says anything like: “I am not God.” Or: “You are not sinful.” Or: “Christ is not a great Savior.” Or: “If you believe in Christ, you will not be saved.” Or: “It is foolish to follow my counsel.” Or: “My word is unreliable.”
But God does ordain that lying happen as part of his judgment on the guilty. That is why the question comes up...
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Because the Psalms are so personal, they often do not represent the mood or the situation we are in when we read them. For example, a couple mornings ago I read Psalm 142. It says,
There is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. (v. 4)
I am brought very low! (v. 6)
I do not share this lament at this time. There are many who care for my soul. And I am not presently very low. I have known times more like this. But it is not true of me now.
So what should we do when we read psalms that do not represent our present experience?
- Realize that somewhere in the world there are Christians who right now …