The Bleakest Psalm Is Really a Night-light

Jon Bloom

I read Psalm 88 recently in my devotions, and it filled me with thanksgiving. Which might seem odd. Because this psalm just may be the most bleak of the canonical songs.

Heman the Ezrahite, the apparent composer, was seriously depressed. Maybe he was chronically ill. Or maybe, like many, he battled almost constantly against a relentless darkness. We really don't know. But he said he had been this way since his youth (v. 15). He felt abandoned by God (v. 14), his... Continue Reading

Spiritual Gifts: An Implication for Unanswered Prayer

John Piper

First, let’s just remind ourselves of some truths about spiritual gifts from 1 Corinthians 12. Then we will notice a simple implication for unanswered prayer.

1. God wants us to know about spiritual gifts.

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed” (1 Corinthians 12:1).

2. Objective truths about Jesus govern subjective spiritual experiences.

“No one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no... Continue Reading

All the Beautiful Virgins?

Jon Bloom

King AhasuerusIn Esther chapter 2, King Ahasuerus finds himself without a queen.

He had sacked Queen Vashti in a rage because she had refused to entertain him and his guests with her beauty, thereby encouraging uppity-ness in all the women of the kingdom.

But a king needs a queen. My goodness, where does one even begin? His advisors come up with a doozy of an idea:

'…let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in... Continue Reading

Can You Bear Uncertainty?

Jon Bloom

Uncertainty is a difficult thing to bear. We want to know where the provision is going to come from or if we’re going to die of this disease or how this child is going to turn out or if our job will still be there next month.

But as we see in Luke 9:57-58, Jesus makes it clear that his disciples must be able to bear uncertainty if they are to follow him.

“I will follow you wherever you go.”

I’m sure that whoever made this public declaration to Jesus was sincere. They likely had heard... Continue Reading

The Indomitable Life of Christ

Tyler Kenney

 When Jesus was dead and buried, with a big stone rolled against the tomb, the Pharisees came to Pilate and asked for permission to seal the stone and guard the tomb. Pilate said, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can” (Matthew 27:65). So they did. They gave it their best shot—in vain.

It was hopeless then, it is hopeless today, and it will always be hopeless. Try as they may, people can’t keep Jesus down. They can’t keep him buried. They may use... Continue Reading

John Donne on God’s Never Despising Us

John Piper

John DonneToday in 1631 John Donne died. For those who know him at all, he is known mainly for his poetry. He was born in London in 1572. As a Roman Catholic he became disillusioned and was converted to the Anglican faith.

He took a doctor of divinity at Cambridge in 1618 and was appointed as dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1621. He was there till his death. He married Ann Moore in 1601 who bore him 12 children before she died in 1617. He never remarried.

He was... Continue Reading

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

David Mathis

The Giving of the Law at Mount Sinai

Here is Moses’ amazing monotheistic appeal to the people of Israel at the edge of the Promised Land, after 40 years of wilderness wandering.

Ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of.

Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still... Continue Reading

John Piper's Upcoming Leave

John Piper

As you may have already heard in the sermon from March 27-28, the eldersgraciously approved on March 22 a leave of absence that will take me away from Bethlehem from May 1 through December 31, 2010. We thought it might be helpful to put an explanation in a letter to go along with the sermon.

I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I... Continue Reading

Barrabas and Me

David Mathis

The crowd calls for Jesus' crucifixion.

Who do you identify with in the Passion narratives?

Of course, as good Christians, we say Jesus. He’s the good guy, our protagonist. As we relive the story, we pull for him, and against his enemies. And a long list of enemies it is: Judas who betrays him, Peter who denies him, the chief priests who hate him, Herod who mocks him, the crowd that calls for his crucifixion, Pilate who washes his hands and condemns him, and Barrabas who is guilty but gets to go free.

Wait a minute.

Barrabas—the... Continue Reading

Saving Souls: The Best Way to Save the Whales

David Mathis

Who else would call Noah’s ark “a floating zoo of creepy-crawlies”? Sam Crabtree is a skilled turner of curious phrases and has the rare gift of never being boring. His most recent article wrestles with how to be both green and missional. Here’s a sample:

We can strive to save both mortal mammals and immortal souls, while realizing that saved whales will not save souls, while saved souls might so earnestly desire for everything that has breath to praise God... Continue Reading