There is a well-worn and pessimistic saying that the only things that are sure in life are death and taxes. And it certainly is true that life is full of uncertainties. Health can deteriorate in an instant. Even the most promising of careers can meet with disappointment. The best of plans can fall apart. And even after a lifetime of faithfulness, one temptation can catch us by surprise. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
This beautiful, biblical description of a Christian comes from James Smith in 1856. As you read this pastor’s wise and insightful summary of the Christian life, prayerfully consider — not only whether these words describe you, but — how they may better describe you. May each of us as Christian believers learn Christ’s doctrines better, trust his promises better, and do his will better. If anyone is in Christ — he is a new creature:
From the outset of any discussion about God, his being, and his attributes, there must be the open admission that we cannot possibly fully comprehend an infinite God with our simple and finite minds. Yet, because God has revealed certain things about himself in his Word, the Bible, we must strive to describe God so as to communicate and understand who this God is and how he reveals himself to us. While we cannot fully define God, our best description is nonetheless necessary.
In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith (Galatians 3:26). At a recent men’s breakfast at our church, I shared the following thoughts about what it means for God to be our father. If you are not a father it should bless, humble, and encourage you; if you are a father it should bless, humble, and inspire you to be a better father — a father more like God. Here are at least 15 implications from Scripture to the profound truth that God is our father:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26). Here, at the climax of the account of Creation, God speaks to himself in Trinitarian conversation and says, “Let us make humans in our own image.”
We are thankful, as a nation, for the Independence Day that we celebrate each summer. How God has blessed this country! While its story has been far from perfect, the United States has played a unique role in human history. Principles of biblical wisdom grounded the forming of our very Constitution. And, as a result of many of those principles believed and lived out among the American people, we have seen unparalleled prosperity over the past century and have become a singular superpower in an increasingly global society. Yet, may we never forget — in this nation or any other
Not long ago I lead a study on the doctrine of “Glorification” in a systematic theology series for the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at the University of Cincinnati. I was greatly blessed in considering the eventual, promised perfection of the people of God. Yet I was also impressed all over again with the fact that every aspect of our salvation — including even our glorification — is not ultimately about us, but about God.
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30). At first glance, the psalmist’s declaration may seem strange. How does one “magnify” the omniscient, omnipresent, almighty God who holds the universe in his hand? In other words, how can anyone make an everywhere-present God bigger?
Not long ago I was asked to give a biblical overview of “The Oneness of Humanity” at a Christian hip-hop album release party in Cincinnati. The more I thought about this subject, the more prominently I perceived it in Scripture. This issue is touched on all over the place in the Bible, but my task was to give a bird’s eye view of this topic, flying over it to hit some major points. I hope that sharing a brief outline of my message will be like the ravens that brought Elijah food; I hope it leaves you hungering for more
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1). With these words, the Apostle Paul challenges his young protégé, Timothy, not to grow weary or weak as he endures for the sake of the gospel and the church in Ephesus. The church at this time was experiencing heavy persecution from the Ephesian culture around it, which had little interest in the gospel. But the church was also facing pressure from inside in the form of false teachers. The church, and Timothy, was pressed on all sides.
I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The resurrection of Jesus is a pivotal point in human history. And it is, as Paul reminds us here, a pivotal point of the Christian message. Indeed, no one was more aware of, or insistent upon, its significance than Jesus himself.
I recently came across this excellent quote on marriage from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous German preacher who was executed by the Nazis for trying to overthrow Hitler. Coming from a serious man, who lived in a day of serious challenges, it is all the more poignant and worthwhile. Marriage is more than your love for each other.
In further preparation for and meditation toward Father’s Day, I share this outline from a January 2009 men’s breakfast. It is a sobering, awe-inspiring, standard-raising thing for God to say to us: “Be holy like I am holy.” The following includes just some of the many meditations that we might biblically derive from the call to be God-imitators:
I shared these thoughts at a men’s retreat a few years ago, learning from the man whom God himself commended in superlative terms for his meekness, even though he was a great leader. In fact, it is his very meekness which contributed to Moses’ great leadership. There are lessons here, then, for every leader — including in the home — so I hope these observations will be a blessing to all fathers and families with Father’s Day approaching:
No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him (1 John 3:6). This is a sobering passage. It is meant to be. However, it should not be a passage that causes the Christian believer to despair. John is not condemning the one who is seeking to overcome sin, but the one who habitually gives into sin without repenting. John purposefully describes here the one who is (or is not) continually sinning (as is evident from the “linear present”, or continuing action, of the verbs in the original