“The love of Christ is eternal, because he is eternal. The love of Christ is like himself. The love of Christ, being the love of God, is infallibly effectual. It produces all the good things Christ desires to produce in his people. Christ loves life, grace and holiness into us. He loves us also into a covenant of love with himself. Christ loves us into heaven. How many millions of sins in every one of the elect, every sin sufficient to condemn them, has Christ’s love overcome! What mountains of unbelief has Christ’s love removed! Look at the behavior of any one saint. Consider his heart. See the many sinful stains and spots, the defilement and weakness with which his life is contaminated, and tell me whether the love that bears with all this is not to be admired? And is not Christ’s love the same to thousands every day? What streams of grace flow from Christ’s love every day!” John Owen, Communion With God
What do Christmas carols make you think of? Luke 2? Manger scenes? Candle-lit Christmas Eve services? Turkey dinners with family? That’s what they do for most people. Few of us think, “Oh, Christmas carols = the sky being peeled back and saints being caught up in the clouds.”
It is true that the nativity is the main theme of carols. Several carols also point to Calvary: “Then let us all with one accord/ Sing praises to our heavenly Lord/ That hath made heaven and earth of nought,/ And with his blood mankind hath bought” (“The First Nowell”).
But some of the best-known carols make reference to the second coming. Continue reading
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
I 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
This 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
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.
Adam 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
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
My 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