What to Do If You Wake Up Feeling Fragile

John Piper
What to Do If You Wake Up Feeling Fragile

There are mornings when I wake up feeling fragile. Vulnerable. It’s often vague. No single threat. No one weakness. Just an amorphous sense that something is going to go wrong and I will be responsible. It’s usually after a lot of criticism. Lots of expectations that have deadlines and that seem too big and too many.

As I look back over about 50 years of such periodic mornings, I am amazed how the Lord Jesus has preserved my life. And my ministry. The temptation to... Continue Reading

A Promise, a Manger, and a City with No Need for the Sun

Jonathan Parnell
A Promise, a Manger, and a City with No Need for the Sun

A Song of Ascents
There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. (Psalm 132:17)

Psalm 132 is the longest and clearest of the Songs of Ascents. As we've seen in the earlier psalms, we are coming up out of exile in hopes of a restored Jerusalem. Psalm 132 tells us why this Jerusalem is so special: it is the place of God's dwelling and the throne of his anointed.

Two concepts come together in this city: the Lord's... Continue Reading

Why Christmas Morning Was a Trajectory

Jonathan Parnell
Why Christmas Morning Was a Trajectory

Kenōsis is the Greek word in Philippians 2:7 translated "made nothing" (ESV). It's what Jesus did to himself — "he made himself nothing . . ."

Donald Macleod writes,

In becoming incarnate God not only accomodates himself to human weakness: he buries his glory under veil after veil so that it is impossible for flesh and blood to recognize him. As he hangs on the cross, bleeding, battered, powerless and forsaken, the last thing he looks like is God. Indeed, he scarcely... Continue Reading

That Crazy Star of Bethlehem

David Mathis

Behold, the star that they had seen when it rose
went before them until it came to rest
over the place where the child was. (Matthew 2:9)

The star moved. Really?

This is already the second time in this short section that Matthew’s making sure he has our attention. “Behold” is his effort to make sure we’re tracking with him.

First it was verse 1: “Behold, magi from the east came to Jerusalem . . . .” We’re supposed to be surprised that pagan astrologers came to see baby Jesus. (For... Continue Reading

Go to the House of Feasting Tomorrow

Josh Etter
Go to the House of Feasting Tomorrow

Charles Spurgeon on December 24, 1854:

Feast, Christians, feast; you have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting to-morrow, celebrate your Saviour’s birth; do not be ashamed to be glad; you have a right to be happy. Solomon says, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.”

“Religion never was designed
To make your pleasures less.”

... Continue Reading

How We Get from Exile to a Restored Jerusalem

Jonathan Parnell
How We Get from Exile to a Restored Jerusalem

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord . . . (Psalm 127:3)

So Israel is in exile, but there is hope. Our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us (Psalm 123:2). These are the "Songs of Ascents" after all. Israel is coming up out of her captivity. We are headed to a restored Jerusalem.

From exile to a restored Jerusalem. We've seen this idea by the time we come to Psalm 127 and now it get's a little clearer.... Continue Reading

What He Secured Wasn't Sympathy, But Immunity

Jonathan Parnell
What He Secured Wasn't Sympathy, But Immunity

Jesus is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He's a Savior who knows what it's like to be human, to live in a fallen world, to experience temptation. And better news than our exemplar, Jesus was our substitution.

Donald Macleod writes,

There can be no doubt that the Father loved him; here, at Golgotha, above all, because this was the magnificent climax of his obedience. . . .

Even at the lowest point, where he cannot say, "Abba!" he says "Eloi!" ("My God!"). As... Continue Reading

We Three Kings of Orient Aren’t

David Mathis

Behold, magi from the east came to Jerusalem . . . (Matthew 2:1)

Matthew says "behold" to make sure he has our attention. He knows how prone we are to fall asleep while we're reading.

"Wake up. Make sure you're listening. This is huge. Don't miss it. It's not what you'd expect..."

But what's so shocking about magi coming to Jesus? We might be so used to this annual Christmas story that we're not surprised, like Matthew wants us to be, that magi came to Jesus. Don't they come... Continue Reading

The Woe of Sojourning Here

Jonathan Parnell
The Woe of Sojourning Here

A Song of Ascents . . .
Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! (Psalms 120:5)

The first "Song of Ascents" tells us Israel is in exile.

Glance through the surrounding pages to see this same superscript is repeated. In fact, Psalms 120–134 are all introduced "A Song of Ascents." Understood in its context, this refers to Israel's "coming up" out of Babylonian captivity. As each psalm shows us a little more we begin to see the journey from exile... Continue Reading

Blessed Is She Who Believed

Jon Bloom
Blessed Is She Who Believed

Mary was “blessed among women” (Luke 1:42). She received the singular holy gift of being the mother of our Lord (Luke 1:43). God the Son dwelled inside of her body in human form. Then he lived in her home and was under her care until adulthood. This has tempted some to worship her.

In fact, one woman publicly exalted Mary by crying out to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed” (Luke 11:27)! But Jesus corrected her by replying, “Blessed... Continue Reading