Sonnet Written on Our 41st Wedding Anniversary

John Piper

December 21, 2009

In echoes of Capernaum the Lord
Inquired of me, his happy friend, and said,
“Will you, like these five thousand, take my bread
And leave?” But I replied, “Who can afford
To lift his little hand and wield the sword
Of pride, and sever now the hand that fed
Us with his love? No. No. I would be dead
If I should leave, and you be unadored.

I may as well in this exquisite night
Of pleasures—night to mark our wedding day—
Set out to find a harlot before... Continue Reading

God in a Manger, Part 1: Jesus Is Lord

David Mathis

Advent is my yearly reminder to brush up on Christology, the doctrine of the person of Christ. I’ve found it helpful to approach the subject under three headings:

  1. Jesus as Lord (fully divine)
  2. Jesus as Savior (fully human)
  3. Jesus as Treasure (one person)

So here’s part one, with parts two and three on the way in the next couple days.

In this Christological triad (Lord-Savior-Treasure), Jesus’ Lordship is tied to his divinity and to him rightly being called Yahweh, the name... Continue Reading

Proving What Can't Be by Not Seeing It

John Piper

When G. K. Chesterton was arguing against a rationalist who denied miracles on the ground that experience is against it, he cited this:

There was a great Irish Rationalist of this school who, when he was told that a witness had seen him commit a murder, said he could bring a hundred witnesses who had not seen him commit it. (Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 176)

C. S. Lewis on What God Foreknows

John Piper

Reflecting on why God put Abraham’s faith to the test by commanding him to offer his son, Lewis says,

“If God then is omniscient, he must have known what Abraham would do, without any experiment. Why then this needless torture?” But as St. Augustine points out, whatever God knew, Abraham at any rate did not know that his obedience would endure such a command until the event taught him: and the obedience which he did not know that he would choose, he cannot be said to have... Continue Reading

If Not Santa, What?

Noel Piper

How will our home look if our celebration is a picture of anticipation and waiting for God’s plan to be completed, a picture of our joy in the salvation he has begun for us? What visible things will fill our house as we celebrate what God has done through Jesus?

Our very first Christmas was in the middle of our honeymoon, so our traditions began the second year of marriage. We visited our families before Christmas, and returned across the country to our small place late at night on... Continue Reading

Thinking About Santa

Noel Piper

Over the years, we have chosen not to include Santa Claus in our Christmas stories and decorations. There are several reasons.

First, fairy tales are fun and we enjoy them, but we don’t ask our children to believe them.

Second, we want our children to understand God as fully as they’re able at whatever age they are. So we try to avoid anything that would delay or distort that understanding. It seems to us that celebrating with a mixture of Santa and manger will postpone a child’s clear... Continue Reading

Joseph: (Un)Planned Detours

Jon Bloom

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

As Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, discovered in Matthew 1-2, that’s just another way of saying that when your plans are detoured and redirected, you find out who’s really charting the course.

Nazareth. It felt good to Joseph to be back home. The same old market and the same old merchants. The same old neighbors with the same old complaints. The same old synagogue and the same old rabbi.

Oddly,... Continue Reading

Jesus Tree

Noel Piper

Talitha: “Mom, I have a tiny disco ball to hang on the Jesus Tree!”

Me: “Before you do that, you need to tell me how that disco ball relates to Jesus.”

Talitha: “Mmm…well…Jesus is the light of the world…and he shines all around…

Me: “Good. And he’s multifaceted, so there’s always more to learn about his glories.”

The Bible is filled with names and word pictures of Jesus. Every name or image is a facet of the God who is too complex and deep for us to ever know completely. But as we gaze at him from... Continue Reading

Don't Look a Gift Universe in the Mouth

John Piper
A cosmos, one day being rebuked by a pessimist replied, "How can you who revile me consent to speak by my machinery? Permit me to reduce you to nothingness and then we will discuss the matter." Moral. You should not look a gift universe n the mouth.

-G. K. Chesterton (Quoted from Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Volume 1, 71)

Why Require Unregenerate Children to Act Like They’re Good?

John Piper

If mere external conformity to God’s commands (like don’t lie, don’tsteal, don’t kill) is hypocritical and spiritually defective, then whyshould parents require obedience from their unregenerate children?

Won’t this simply confirm them in unspiritual religious conformity, hypocritical patterns of life, and legalistic moralism?

Here are at least three reasons why Christian parents should requiretheir small children (regenerate or unregenerate) to... Continue Reading