If in your morning devotions you open God’s word to the book of Judges and find that the strings of your inner instrument are not in tune, it is not blasphemy to excuse yourself for a few moments from the King’s library and turn to a paragraph from one of his unflinchingly faithful, broken-hearted, happy servants. Should we find it surprising that the King should appoint some of his closest friends to be especially good at tuning the strings of our soul so that we may play His music when he puts the bow of his Word on our soul?
At least for me, this is how it is from time to time. And I am thankful for Satan’s folly in throwing Samuel Rutherford into prison in Aberdeen for seventeen months…
In March, I went to visit Kenya. I kissed my husband goodbye and left him at home. Or so I thought. But when I got to Kenya, I found him all over the place.
At Moffatt Bible College in Kijabe, for example, the librarian gave me a tour. One set of double doors opened to the textbook closet. Most students can’t afford to buy books for their classes, so here they can check out the required texts for the term. In the center of the center shelf was a stack of The Supremacy of God in Preaching.
Later that week, at a workshop in Old Kijabe Town, Peter heard that I was John Piper’s wife. He turned his smile on me and said, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exist…
One of the reasons pursuing a passion for Christ (or if you prefer the old word, “zeal” for Christ) is so important is the good effects it has on others.
This is not the decisive reason for wanting passion. Passion is not like that. It is not utilitarian. Passion for Christ exists because Christ is magnificent, not because passion is useful. If the only reason you try to have passion is to help others have passion, your so-called passion will become manipulative and will prove in the end to be hypocrisy.
Nevertheless, if you have it, and if it is really a passion for Christ, then it will have a God-designed effect on others. This is part of why passion is so good. It is an honor to…
Every Christian should want to be a “fountain of life” for others. How does that happen?
Here is a group of passages that answer this question. The answer is in the order.
Psalm 36:9, For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.…
Proverbs 16:22, Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, But the discipline of fools is folly.
Proverbs 14:27, The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death.
Proverbs 10:11, The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
Proverbs 13:14, The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn aside from the snares of
For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. (1Corinthians 7:22-24).
I would have expected Paul to switch the places of “Lord” and “Christ.” He correlates our liberation with Jesus being our Master (“a freedman of the Lord”). And he correlates our new slavery with Jesus being our Messiah (“a slave of Christ”).
But in fact the Messiah came to liberate his people from their captors; and masters take control of people’s lives. Why does he say it this way?
Suggestion. The switch has two effects on our new liberty and two effects on our new slavery.
In calling us “the liberated o…
I often justify my anger by telling myself that I’m not like the person I’m angry at. If someone gives me the finger for no good reason while I’m driving, I instantly feel like I have a right to be mad, because I would never treat anyone that way.
I feel justified in my frustration at that rude driver, because I don’t flip people off when they tick me off. So I must be a better person, right? And if I’m a better person, I can rightly judge that driver for his wrongdoing, can’t I?
Of course, I know I sin in some ways, but I don’t sin the same as that driver. So when it comes to his sins, I have every right to be critical of him. We’re different.
But Jesus disagrees.
In the st…
Jesus never wrote anything. He hung out, and talked, and healed. But if his followers had only done that, we wouldn’t know even that about him. Both-And, not Either-Or. And some people more one than the other.
“Did you know your dream has come true? There's a book of Lilias Trotter's art now—A Blossom in the Desert,” I emailed a friend last week. Miriam Rockness, who edited this book, earlier wrote the book that introduced me to Lilias Trotter, A Passion for the Impossible. I was so inspired by her story that I included it in Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God.
We who admire Lilias Trotter have waited a long time actually to see her artwork. Until now, it was hidden away in the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University and in the archives of the Arab World Ministries.
Lilias Trotter was an upper-class English woman of the Victorian era whose drawings and water colors were admired by John…
As we think seriously about contextualizing the message of the Bible, let’s remember that we must also labor to bring about, in the minds of our listeners, conceptual categories that may be missing from their mental framework. If we only use the thought structures they already have, some crucial biblical truths will remain unintelligible, no matter how much contextualizing we do. This work of concept creation is harder than contextualization, but just as important...
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C. S. Lewis’ advice to children on writing is good advice to pastors on preaching, or anybody on talking.
- Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else.
- Always prefer the clean direct word to the long, vague one. Don't implement promises, but keep them.
- Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean "More people died" don't say "Mortality rose."
- In writing, don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing is "terrible," describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it was "deli…