The Legend of the Battle-Weary Crusader

Somewhere, buried deep in the collected works of one of those old authors I love so well, I read the story—the legend perhaps—of a battle-weary crusader who had returned from the Holy Land. The years spent far from his home in England, and all the horrors he had witnessed in battle, had served to temper his character. He now longed for nothing more than to retire to his estates and to oversee his lands and holdings. Terrible memories and horrifying …

What Matters Is Not the Size of Your Faith

We aren’t certain whether gold is pure or alloyed until it is tested in the fire. We don’t know whether steel is rigid or brittle until it is tested by stress. We can’t have confidence that water is pure until it passes through a filter. And in much the same way, we don’t know what our faith is made of until we face trials. It is the testing of our faith that displays its genuineness, says Peter, and it is …

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I Knew It!

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to enter heaven? Do you ever wonder what you will see first, what you will hear first, what you will feel and experience first? Do you ever wonder what your very first thought will be after you’ve fallen asleep in this world to awaken in the next? I’m sure you do. We all do. We all wonder what’s just beyond the great chasm that separates life from death, earth from heaven, here from …

Helpful Things You Can Say to Grieving Parents

It can be awkward to reach out to those who are deep in grief. It can be hard to know what to say and easy to believe that our words are more likely to offend than comfort, to make a situation worse rather than better. We sense that our words ought to be few, but also that the worst thing to say is nothing at all. I recently consulted with a few other parents who have experienced the loss of …

The Last (Melodramatic) Hymn

In her time, Marianne Farningham, who was actually named Mary Ann Hearn, was well-known for her devotional poetry, as well as some of her hymns, (though I am not aware of any of those that have really stood the test of time). While most of her poems were topical, some of them were narrative in style, including “The Last Hymn.” Though I admit this one perhaps tips into a bit of Victorian melodrama, I still quite enjoy it. Read—preferably aloud—and hear …

Set Loose in a Mud Pit

It would be a strange thing for a mother to set her daughter loose in a mud pit, but warn her that she must not let her clothes get dirty. It would be a strange thing for a father to instruct his son to ford a river, but warn him that he must not let his feet get wet. Yet when we come to God in repentance and faith, when we joyfully surrender our lives to him, he gives us …

The More We Drink, The More We Thirst

What does your heart hunger for? What does your spirit thirst for? What is that thing that if you had it, that dream that if you achieved it, that reward that if you gained it, you’re sure you would now be satisfied, you’re sure your restless heart would finally be at peace? There are many things we hunger for, but only one so very good that Jesus promises to satisfy it: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” …

A Pastoral Prayer for Unity Amid Pandemic

Every now and again I like to share one of the pastoral prayers from Grace Fellowship Church. This particular one was prayed by Paul Martin on a recent Sunday. The context, as is obvious from the prayer, is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and, perhaps more specifically, the vaccine mandates that are taking root in our city and country. This context provides many opportunities for Christians to disagree with one another and, therefore, to become disunited. This, then, is a prayer …

Life Is Fleeting

I draw a deep breath and put pen to paper. But the words won’t flow. Not yet. I pause for a moment to gather my thoughts. I know I need to prepare an expression of sympathy, to write out a letter of condolence to a friend who has suffered a tragic loss. I want him to know my love, my support, my comfort in this, his hardest hour. I picture the one who lived and then died, who flourished for …

A Tribute to Those of Simple Faith

God makes us to be different from one another. He makes us to have different gifts and talents, to have different dispositions and personalities. He even makes us to relate to him in different ways, so that some of us most feel God’s pleasure when we are deeply engaged in a worship service and others when we are deeply engaged in serving God by serving others. It takes many parts to make one unified, functioning body. I have observed as …