The Unlikeliness of Israel

John Piper

To mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of the modern State of Israel, let’s listen to a voice from 100 years before this state was born.

Who was it that said in 1867 that the existence of the Jews in the modern world was an insurmountable obstacle in the way of reasonable unbelief? It was J. C. Ryle. And who was he? J. I. Packer, quoting Richard Hobson and calling it a “just estimate,” describes Ryle like this:

He was great in stature; great in mental power; great in... Continue Reading

How Do You “Give” God Strength?

John Piper

The following meditation comes from my devotional lingering over Psalm96:7. All the modern versions translate it, “Ascribe to theLord...strength” (ESV, NIV, NASB). Only the KJV renders it with theliteral, “Give unto the Lord...strength.”

There’s nothing unusual about this Hebrew word “give” (yahab). It’s used over sixty times in the Old Testament in all the ordinary ways the word give is used.

The word ascribe in Psalm 96:7 is an interpretation. It’sa paraphrase. It’s a good... Continue Reading

6 Ways to React to the Cyclone

John Piper

As the carnage from Cyclone Nargis moves toward 50,000 dead and beyond, there is a way to pray and act:

1. Be softened to the pain nearby.

The Good Samaritan knew nothing of the calamities in first century Burma, but was commended by the Lord for mercies at hand (Luke 10:25-37).

2. Pray for the followers of Christ in Myanmar:

  • That they would be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10; 100:3).
  • That they would be awakened from the illusion that this life is long or sure or the... Continue Reading

The Night the Angel Didn’t Come

Jon Bloom

Luke says it so quickly, so matter-of-factly: “[Herod] killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:2). In the flow of the story this little phrase sets the stage for Peter’s dramatic prison rescue by the angel. So that’s what we remember. When Peter later wrote, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials” (2 Peter 2:9), this is the sort of rescue that easily comes to mind.

But the night that James sat in prison the angel didn’t come. I’m sure he prayed... Continue Reading

Don't Miss How God Motivates

John Piper

God motivates us to feel and to do what we should by calling to our minds his past performances of love and his future promises of love—some near, some far.

Be sure that you are connected to the way God means to motivate you with the backward look and the distant forward look and the near forward look. For example:

Motivation by the backward look:

Forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Motivation by the distant forward look:

Rejoice and be glad,... Continue Reading

What the Pharisees Got Right

John Piper

To lay a trap for an animal there has to be some truth to attract him. It must at least look like a meal even if the iron clamps lie just beneath. Mark says the Pharisees came “to trap" Jesus. So they put some truth over the trap. They said,

“Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God.” (Mark 12:14)

This is amazing insight coming from those who do not live it. Appearances were... Continue Reading

Serving God by Serving Others

Desiring God Staff

When we work as unto the Lord we serve others even more excellently than if serving them were our main goal. Working as unto the Lord does not mean serving God instead of other people.

Paul tells slaves to obey their masters—and not just to obey, but to obey in everything. It sounds absurd, but he explains:

Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men…. You are serving the Lord Christ.

So slaves should obey their masters completely (at least completely enough... Continue Reading

Acclaim for Christ vs. Craving Praise

John Piper

I have suggested that we should dreamof ways to make much of Christ in the way we use our economic stimuluschecks that will be arriving soon. That raises the question how we dothat if our generosity should be done in secret. “Do not let your lefthand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6.3). Here’s what Ithink the Bible says about that.

Jesus warns of two dangers when it comes to what unbelievers think of us...

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Remembering Elder D. J. Ward

John Piper

Elder D. J. Ward, pastor of Lexington's Main Street Baptist Church for the past 19 years, died of complications from lung cancer Friday at Hospice Care Center at St. Joseph Hospital. What the Lexington Herald-Leader did not say about this amazing African-American is that he was a powerful spokesman for the glorious God worshiped through the wall-to-wall window called Calvinism.

I thank God for the one conference we had together. He invited me to the Lexington Pastors’ Conference... Continue Reading

Economic Stimulus Payment & Christ

John Piper

For a moment, forget the political puzzle of getting money back when the country is nine trillion dollars in debt. The more immediate question is: How will you make much of Christ with your "economic stimulus payment"? The president says it will be in the mail in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Clue: Nobody in the world will see you spend your money on yourself and conclude that Christ is your treasure. They will assume you are just like them, no matter how loudly you thank God for... Continue Reading