By How Many Doors Must You Enter Paradise?

John Piper

Here’s an unusual wake up call about the wonders of marriage.

To complain that I could only be married once was like complaining that I had only been born once. It was incommensurate with the terrible excitement of which one was talking. It showed not an exaggerated sensibility to sex but a curious insensibility to it. A man is a fool who complains that he cannot enter Eden by five gates at once. Polygamy is a lack of the realization of sex; it’s like a man... Continue Reading

C.S. Lewis on Why to Seek an Author's Intention

John Piper

In answering the question why we should care about an author’s intention, C. S. Lewis gives two answers in his book An Experiment in Criticism.

"Why," they ask, "should I turn from a real present experience—what the poem means to me, what happens to me when I read it—to inquire about the poet’s intentions or reconstructions, always uncertain of what it may have meant to his contemporaries?"

There seem to be two answers. One, is that the poem in my head which... Continue Reading

As Nice As They Let Me, As Mean As They Make Me

John Piper

One of the growing ministries of Desiring God is the outreach to prisoners. Those of you in the Philippian Fellowship hear about this more often than the rest of our website guests.

On Thursday a team of four of us stopped in at Angola Prison in Angola, Louisiana. Warden Burl Cain was very gracious to take us into his world, even the most painful part of it.

Here is what he said three years ago in Decision Magazine about this prison:

This prison is the largest... Continue Reading

Art and the Precious Limits of Reality

John Piper

Here is Chesterton on the essence of art.

Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame. If you draw a giraffe you must draw him with a long neck. If in your bold creative way you hold yourself free to draw a giraffe with a short neck you will really find that you are not free to draw a giraffe. (Orthodoxy, 71)

When I read this I remembered the thoughts I had in writing the advent poem called The Innkeeper.

So quickly do we pass over the Christmas... Continue Reading

Invitation to Our 2010 Pastors Conference

John Piper

Dear fellow shepherds of God's people,

For over 20 years, we have assumed the foundation of Christian Hedonism at the Desiring God Conference for Pastors. But we have never focused on it. Until now. I thought it was time. Our theme for 2010 is

The Pastor, the People, and the Pursuit of Joy
The Apostolic Aim of Pastoral Ministry

At least twice, the apostle Paul sums up the goal of his ministry in the joy of his people. First, to the Corinthians:

"Not that we lord it... Continue Reading

When You Don't Want to Do What You Ought To

John Piper

If your "want to" does not conform to God's "ought to," what can you do to have peace?

I see at least five possible strategies.

  1. You can avoid thinking about the "ought to."

    This is the most common strategy in the world. Most people simply do not devote energy to pondering what they should be doing that they are not doing.

  2. You can reinterpret the "ought to" so that it sounds just like your "want to."

    This is a little more sophisticated and so not as common. It... Continue Reading

Dense with Magnificent Truth

John Piper

What an amazing array of glorious acts of love God shows toward us in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. I pray that God will make my thoughts this dense with magnificent truth.

  • Loved
  • Chosen
  • Saved
  • Sanctified
  • Believing
  • Called
  • Obtaining glory

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14:

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved , through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth . To this he called ... Continue Reading

When You Don’t Feel Like It, Take Heart

Jon Bloom

Did you wake up not feeling like reading your Bible and praying? How many times today have you had to battle not feeling like doing things you know would be good for you?

While it’s true that this is our indwelling sin that we must repent of and fight against, there’s more going on.

Think about this strange pattern that occurs over and over in just about every area of life:

  • Good food requires discipline to prepare and eat while junk food tends to be the most tasty,... Continue Reading

Satan, World, Providence, Christ

John Piper

Not until recently had I ever felt the weight of the fact that thoseoutside Christ have no defense against the devil. God can restrain thedevil from doing his maximum worst. But the world cannot. They arehelpless before Satan’s supernatural power. They are utterly in hissway, except for God’s restraining providence.

This should make us tremble for the hopelessness of the world andmarvel at the magnitude of God’s power and grace to keep the world frombeing ten thousand times... Continue Reading

Not Just for Theological Uber Geeks

John Piper

No, no, no. My friend, Mark Driscoll. No, no, no.

Yesterday you tweeted and facebooked to a gazillion people:

Only the hardcore uber geek theological types who love footnotes will care, but John Sailhamer's The Meaning of the Pentateuch & Andreas Kostenberger's A Theology of John's Gospels & Letters were just released. For both of you - enjoy.

Emphatically, no. To all pastors and serious readers of the Old Testament—geek, uber geek, under geek, no geek—if you... Continue Reading