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

Looking Forward: Preparing to Meet Jesus Face to Face

Noel Piper

Advent is a time of looking back, remembering the faithful people who were waiting for the salvation God had promised, as 1 Peter 1:10-12 tells us.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were... Continue Reading

Hope for "Older Brother" Types

Jon Bloom

Someone asked a great question in response to mypostlast week on Simon the Pharisee:

Much like the two sons in the prodigal son story, how necessary is it to be the younger son to appreciate the Father?

In other words, do we have to sin more grossly in order to be able to comprehend how much we have been forgiven so that we can "love much"?

It seems to me that self-righteousness poses challenges that are similar to wealth in terms of how hard it is to get into the kingdom. If... Continue Reading

Looking Back: Advent Candles

Noel Piper

Advent Candles probably are the most common Advent symbolism of looking back to the days of waiting for the Messiah God had promised.

Various helpful schemes of symbolism can be attached to Advent candles, their number, and color. But here are the basics—one candle for each of the Sundays of Advent, and if you wish, a fifth for Christmas Day. Some people have a special candle holder arrangement, a wreath maybe. That’s nice but not necessary. The only requirement for using Advent... Continue Reading

Advent: Standing in the Middle

Noel Piper

During Advent, it’s as if we are re-enacting the thousands of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God’s salvation, for Jesus. Then at the end of the four weeks of Advent, Christmas is a heartfelt celebration because that ancient waiting is done.

And yet we are still waiting.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits... Continue Reading

Simon the Pharisee: The Fuel of True Love for God

Jon Bloom

He had the Holy One of Israel in his house, reclining at his table. The Prophet that Moses had foretold was sharing dinner with him. The Lord of glory, the Resurrection and the Life, was speaking with him face to face. The great climactic moment of history he claimed to be living for had arrived. It should have been a deliriously wonderful, breathtaking honor for Simon to host the Messiah.

But Simon was not amazed. As he looked at Jesus, all he saw was a... Continue Reading

Bless the Mother of Jesus, but Mainly Be the Mother of Jesus

John Piper

The veneration given to Mary in the Roman Catholic church is beyondwhat is warranted by the New Testament. In fact, it is astonishing howlittle we see of Mary in the New Testament. Let us honor her uniquemotherhood. Let us count her blessed as the mother of our incarnateLord. But let us not put her on a pedestal that neither she nor Jesuswould have approved of.

After she turns up with the disciples praying in the upper room in Acts 1:14,she is... Continue Reading