• Giving Thanks Always, For Everything

    pilgrim-thanksgiving-in-plymouth“…Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20)

    God’s Word calls us to life that is marked by songs of thanksgiving shared with each other, and directed together to God. God desires this as the tenor of our lives; he wants us to see, and to delight in his goodness. Yet because of our small vision and sin we have far more than we realize to give thanks for, or perhaps more than we want to give thanks for! Two preachers from the past help us out here, as they encourage us to grow in holistic thanksgiving. Continue reading

  • You Might As Well Not Pray

    1024px-Worried_little_girlI don’t like being away from my kids, under pretty much any circumstances. One summer, my parents had taken them camping while I stayed with my grandparents. “You’re worried about them, aren’t you?” my grandmother asked. I nodded. “Well, have you prayed about it?” “Of course!” “Well then why are you still worried? You might as well not pray.”

    Sensing my coming protest, she kept going: “Really. You can sit there and worry about them the whole time, or you can ask God to keep them safe and enjoy your time off. There’s no point in asking the Lord to handle it if you are going to sit here and fret.” Continue reading

  • The Praying Church

    keep-calm-and-come-to-prayer-meeting-1This week’s guest post is by Rev. Peter Kemeny, pastor of Good News Presbyterian Church, Frederick, Maryland.

    It is good to believe in God’s sovereignty but that is not enough. A true view of God’s sovereignty should lead you to pray, for God is pleased to accomplish his purposes through the instrumentality of prayer. Far from removing the need to pray, God’s sovereignty causes prayer to work. This is why Paul pleaded with the believers in Corinth, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (II Corinthians 1:11).

    It is good for you to pray in private and as a family but that is not enough. Continue reading

  • Five Secular Books That Changed My Life

    There are, of course, more than five. This list omits the many, many children’s books that continue to shape me, and several “grown-up” ones that are influential. But here are five that changed my thinking and living. Some of them I read in university, one I read this year, all are worth checking out.

    FOT1017875Adam Bede, George Eliot. Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) apostatized after translating a work of German theological liberalism. But her novels are full of religion, and Adam Bede co-stars a female, Methodist lay preacher. Continue reading

  • Pollination and Insuppressible Glory

    The spectacular footage in this clip from 3.16 on led me to marvel, and to worship God: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1) Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg  honors a blend of evolutionary thought mingled with the neo-pagan mysticism of the Gaia hypothesis, suppressing the truth by not giving honour to God as God, nor giving thanks to Him (Rom. 1:18-21). But the footage reveals tremendous intricacy and mystery declaring God’s glory all around us, even in a groaning, fallen creation (Rom. 8:22). How incredibly beautiful heavenly glory must be. How incredibly beautiful and marvelous the new creation will be!

    –from the archives

  • A Peaceful Home

    800px-Rzhevskaya_Antonina_A_Marry_MomentMy husband likes peace and quiet, especially after a day of work. Just before he came home last week, I realized how things at home would strike him. Lots of lights were on, the washer and dryer were both going, I had water running as I did dishes, the kids were shouting (happy shouting) back and forth about something, running up and down the stairs, and Cantata 140 was blaring so that I could hear it wherever I went in the house.

    Peace and quiet are so connected to each other in our vocabulary and our thinking that it is difficult to think about them separately. In our home that afternoon, we had peace – there was no strife, no fighting, no anger, no crying! (It’s not like that all the time…) People were at peace with each other; we were just loud and active. Peace? Yes. Quiet? No. Continue reading

  • Eyelashes and Morals

    BB-BeaIt doesn’t take much life experience to know that, given a choice, a young man will choose a young woman with a beautiful face and gorgeous figure over an average woman with weak eyes. Even biblical patriarchs were susceptible to an attractive external. “Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel” (Genesis 29:16–18a). He picked the pretty girl. And in a time before Maybelline, she was probably born with it. She didn’t beat Leah at the win-the-man game because she was better at application and had contacts. God made Rachel more beautiful than her sister, and it won her the love of the husband. Continue reading

  • The Greatest Promotion

    latimer-ridley-woodcut-detailThe English Reformer Hugh Latimer (c.1487-1555) wrote the following to his friend and fellow minister, Nicholas Ridley, as they sat imprisoned awaiting a likely death penalty by burning during the reign of Queen Mary:

    “Be of good cheer in the Lord, remember what he requires of you, and what he promises you. Our common enemy will do no more than God will permit him. “God is faithful, which will not suffer us to be tempted above our strength,” &c. They can but kill the body, which must die regardless. They cannot even do that when they want, but when God wills, when the appointed time has come… Give a reasonable account of your faith, if they will quietly hear you; if not, you know, in a wicked place of judgment a man may keep silence following the example of Christ. Don’t let them deceive you… with their fallacies. As Paul says, “Let no man deceive you.” Continue reading