The reason Psalm 119 has 176 verses is that the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. The psalmist exults in the multifaceted preciousness of God’s word by taking each letter of the alphabet and writing eight verses of exultation, each verse beginning with that letter. It’s like saying: “The word of God is precious in every way from A to Z—beyond perfection.” (Eight is one more than seven, the number of completeness and perfection.)
Ordinarily in each group of eight verses, the psalmist uses mostly different words that start with the letter for that section of the acrostic. For example, the verses beginning with the letter heth (verses 57–64) use eight different words beginning with that lett…
It takes supernatural power to be patient. That’s why Paul seems to go over the top in how he prays for our patience:
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:11)
But that glorious might makes its way into our attitudes by means of promises that we believe. Like Romans 8:28.
Benjamin B. Warfield was a world-renowned theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary for almost 34 years until his death on February 16, 1921. Many people are aware of his famous books, like The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. But what most people don’t know is that in 1876, at the age o…
When Christ died he purchased for you the Yes to all God’s promises (2 Cor. 1:20), and that includes the promise to use his sovereign power to govern all the inexplicable, maddening detours and delays of your life for wise and loving purposes. He is doing a thousand things for you and for his glory in your disappointed plans.
Richard Wurmbrand tells a story that illustrates the necessity of believing God for good, unseen purposes, when all we can see is evil and frustration:
A legend says that Moses once sat near a well in meditation. A wayfarer stopped to drink from the well and when he did so his purse fell from his girdle into the sand. The man departed. Shortly afte…
In his book, Passion, Karl Olsson tells a story of incredible patience among the early French Protestants called Huguenots.
In the late Seventeenth Century in… southern France, a girl named Marie Durant was brought before the authorities, charged with the Huguenot heresy. She was fourteen years old, bright, attractive, marriageable. She was asked to abjure the Huguenot faith. She was not asked to commit an immoral act, to become a criminal, or even to change the day-to-day quality of her behavior. She was only asked to say, “J’abjure.” No more, no less. She did not comply. Together with thirty other Huguenot women she was put into a tower by the sea…. For thirty-eight years she…
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…