Caring for Widows

Widows and their care figure prominently in the agenda that God has set for His church

While Christ was on the cross, He looked in the direction of His mother, who was an eyewitness to His passion, and He said to her, “Woman, behold your son!” He was not asking His mother to look at Him. Obviously, she already was looking at Him. Then, Jesus said to John, “Behold your mother!”... Continue Reading

Christianity Without An Adjective

We shape society when we remember who we are first and foremost

“A Christianity qualified by any adjective now feels restrictive. Many are turning anew to the Christ of Scripture, under whom our secondary identities are subsumed. He is not the god of ethnic nationalism or the god of the oppressed but the sovereign God of all nations, King over all.”   We shape society when we... Continue Reading

What the Gospel Means for the Transgender Debate

As Christians, the first thing we ought to affirm in talking about gender identity is that all people, regardless of how they identify, are created in the image of God

“Those who believe in the Fall ought not be shocked when we experience its effects, such as disharmony between our actual bodies and our mental perception of ourselves.  Our deepest desires and our most fundamental notions of self-identity don’t need blanket affirmation; they need resurrection.”   “This is who I really am.” In those six... Continue Reading

Praying with the “Holy Apostles”

As an individual Christian wanting to pray more effectively, and as one who must lead others in prayer, I’ve benefited from many of the forms and patterns handed down by our fathers in the faith.

The Constitutions of the Holy Apostles (or Apostolic Constitutions) is a collection of materials on church life, order, and liturgy. The Apostolic Constitutions comprises eight books, from different times and places, put together in one volume in the fourth century. Books 7 and 8 contain a number of prayers, including a “bidding prayer for the faithful” (what Christians ought to pray for) and a “form of prayer for the faithful” (a liturgical example to be read by one of the church officers). I’ve taken the “bidding prayer” and divided it into 18 categories.

Catch the Foxes: The Things that Are Hurting Your Marriage

Just like a little pebble in your shoe can become a great irritation for your foot, small problems in marriage can do great damage over time.

We all have little foxes in our marriage that threaten to spoil the vineyard. These little things might hurt the marriage outright or might prevent our marriage from flourishing. They could be sins we commit against our spouse or simple failures to nourish and protect our marriage. These foxes could be anything. They could be stinging sarcastic comments thrown at our spouse when we are irritated. They might be failures to be considerate of their needs. They could be complaints made to our friends about our spouse that nurses a growing discontentment. Other foxes might include bitter thoughts, failing to encourage or listen to one another, speaking in a sharp tone of voice, giving them the silent treatment, and putting all our energy into our work or childrearing and having nothing left to give our spouse.

What Does “World” Mean in John 3:16?

“World” refers to the quality of God’s love. It is not here a term of extension so much as a term of intensity.

The world represents sinful humanity and is not worthy of God’s saving love. Apart from the love of God, the world stands under God’s condemnation. But in Christ, believers experience God’s surprising, redeeming, and never-ending love. John 3:16 is not about the greatness of the world but about the greatness of God.   One of the most... Continue Reading

When Mockers Marvel

God overcomes our petulance with his patience. His faithfulness overrules our faithlessness. He takes mockers like you and me and makes us marvel at him.

I remember as an unbeliever making sport among the Christians whom God put around me. On one particular occasion I was doing my best to tempt a believer into acting out and losing it. With self-control, he calmly said, “Raymond, God is not mocked.” Within a year I was arrested by the sovereign grace of God... Continue Reading

What John Calvin Taught Me About Parenthood

There is much to learn from Calvin about justification, soteriology, and God’s sovereignty, but there are also a few lessons we can learn from him about our responsibilities as parents.

After my first child was born, I spent hours reading Scripture and thinking through what God expects of me as a parent. Then I came across Calvin’s commentaries and found among all the rich theological truths that pastors and theologians discuss and debate a nugget of truth for parents in his commentary on Psalm 78.... Continue Reading

Defining Forgiveness

The Bible is a story of forgiveness.

Notice the language and depictions: pardon, pass over, tread underfoot, cast into the depths of the sea. Were we to take these steps, what would become of the offenses of those we forgive? Of course, all these actions of God point us to Christ. In Him and by Him these actions are effected and realized... Continue Reading

How I Gleaned Hope From the Darkest Psalm

Psalm 88 isn’t a feel-good, everything-will-be-all-right kind of psalm

“Like hymns today, the psalms were used in worship—yes, even Psalm 88. That this song was proclaimed by God’s people speaks volumes. It also offers hope, since it’s clear God doesn’t expect us to cover up what’s really going on. We can approach our Father in raw honesty. We don’t have to pretend everything’s okay. We don’t have to hide... Continue Reading